As a Lehigh Valley transplant of almost 3 years I am always looking for things to do in the area with 2 goals in mind: to build my social circle and to have new experiences. Last year I decided to make one of those new experiences running a 5K! I was never a runner so if you’re new to running too I hope I can inspire you! I would jog here and there but I had always counted myself out of the running game based on my asthma diagnosis and the onset of shin splints in high school. Then I realized the only reason I wasn’t running was because I said I can’t… but what if I said I can?
And so began my journey to completing a 5K, and I took advantage of all the Lehigh Valley has to offer to get there. First, I signed up for the Runners World 5K that took place on October 20, 2012. Next I went to Aardvark Sports Shop on Main Street in Bethlehem as recommended by a friend to get supportive running shoes. Unbeknownst to me this would alleviate pain from my shin splints! The employees there are great and I left with a pair of sneakers that completely changed my running experience. Finally, I trained on the great trails here in the Valley! I ran mostly on the Saucon Rail Trail from Hellertown because it is closest to my house, and occasionally on the Muhlenberg College track because I love any excuse to visit my alma mater J
Fast forward to the 5K. The morning of October 20th at the Runners World Festival setup in front of the Steel Stacks was awesome! I heard people talk about the energy of a race but I didn’t really understand it until I was there. I had set my goal at 32 minutes (ten minute miles) and I was anxious to see if I would make it. After a great run around Bethlehem’s South Side I came in at 31:57, just under goal. I felt very accomplished and proud of myself, yet I continued to tell everyone it was my first and last race. It was just something I wanted to check off my bucket list and I’m not competitive by nature so I wasn’t concerned with running again and beating my time. I was just glad I did it, had fun and achieved the goal I set for myself. But as it turns out, I lied. I will be running my second 5K this coming May, but this one will be a bit… brighter?
Color Me Rad is coming to Bethlehem. This is a race in which runners are blasted with “Color Bombs” throughout the course, leaving you looking a bit like spin art when you come out. Maybe I wasn’t interested in participating in another race to beat my own time, but interested in getting covered in colorful paint and having it be socially acceptable? Absolutely. So with no more than 2 seconds of thought I signed up for a team captained by a friend of mine. I feel like there is no way this wouldn’t be a blast and I am hoping the fun atmosphere of this event will bring out some more new runners like myself! Setting a goal and having something to look forward to is the best way to get started. If nothing else, it will provide you with some great photos to impress all of your Facebook friends! I hope to see a lot of you Transplants (and natives!) out there – be on the lookout for me. I’ll be running with Team: Do these colors make my butt look big? And hopefully the answer to that will be no J