A Tale of Two 5Ks…

My big goal for 2018 was to run one 5K a month. Though I came to know myself as “a runner” by training for half-marathons (and one full marathon…), right now setting this goal–and sticking with it every month and learning when to trust my cross-training and when to lace up my favorite Brooks running shoes and get to know my city on foot–seems ambitious enough to be accomplishable and to fit in with my life while still making me feel really, really excited.

So that has become my goal. One 5K a month. There are two exceptions: in April I ran a 4-miler. In July, I ran the famous Peachtree Road Race (the largest 10K in the country).

Yesterday, I ran the Thanksgiving Day 5K (which is put on by the Atlanta Track Club, one of the best things in this town…). This race means something to me. Last year, I ran this 5K and found my love of running again (that’s another blog post entirely…). On my drive home, I decided that if I could run a 5K in December–a jingle bell jog just 10 days later that I wound up having my amazing husband run with me–then I could set a goal of 5Ks in 2018. And yesterday I ran that same 5K again, and I drove home with that same sh*t-eating grin on my face again.

two medals

I am a runner. I may be slow, and I may have more than a few extra pounds on my body, and I may have incredibly imperfect training. But the way that running makes me feel so alive and connected to this world is indisputable. The feeling of confidence and accomplishment that fills me after a run–no matter its circumstances–is unmistakable. My runs have meaning to me, and they fill me with such joy and pride. This is something that I have come to feel so strongly and so innately in a way that I never felt before, when I was able to run so much more quickly and for greater distances and well before many “life circumstances” made me take a big ol’ break.

But now. I am a runner. And the last 13 months of 5Ks have taught me that. They have also taught me a few other things, which I will share with you in a series of pictures:


(Preparing “Flat Stephanie” the night before helps me get really excited for my run in the morning. Check the bottom of the post to see how I geared up!)



(Prepping & chilling my pre-workout the night before makes it easy to “grab n go” at dark-early-o’thirty in the morning. Drinking it, interspersed with a Nalgene of cold water, about 1-1.5 hours before the race starts helps caffeinate me and make my run possible)


(Balega makes some of my most favorite running socks. I bought these–in a shade of blue that I don’t have–as a little treat for myself the day before the race. It allowed me to not only get another pair of one of my favorite running socks but also go to one of my favorite local running stores to make my purchase)

Thanksgiving 2018

(When I start to feel tired in my run or when that thought of “I want to go back to my bed” creeps in, I just think about that finisher’s medal. The exciting moment when a race volunteer gives me my medal just never gets old…)


My gear for the race–
Top: Brooks dash hoodie (in last year’s color pattern of navy and fruit-punch-pink)
Running Tights: R-Gear Recharge Compression Crops (they’re full-length pants on me)
Shoes: Brooks Launch 4 (available from online retailers in other colors)
Socks: Balega Hidden Comfort (so soft! So cushiony! No blisters!)
Sports Bra: Brooks Rebound Racer (go up about 1-2 cup sizes. Trust me…)
Hat: Brooks Sherpa Hat (embroidered with the Running Warehouse logo)
MP3 player: iPod shuffle (no longer available for purchase)
Sports watch/activity tracker: Garmin 235

My eyes are set on the Jingle Bell Jog in about a week and a half, and my husband is running it with me! We made brunch reservations for afterwards at one of our favorite “date night” restaurants so we could celebrate my running accomplishment for 2018.

Do you have any running accomplishments from 2018 or any goals for the year ahead of us?

What’s your favorite brand of running socks?

Are you more interested in race medals or race t-shirts? 


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