This month has proven to be a milestone achieving month for me. A few weekends ago I ran my first 5K at Collinsville's "Hallin Up the Gap 5k Run.”

I use the term run loosely because I jogged the majority of the way. I had thought about doing one for some time now but seemed to talk myself out of it, mostly out of fear of failure.

This month, however, I went for it and couldn't be happier about it. From this experience, I've learned determination goes a long way. It was far more challenging than I was expecting, and I must say there were times when I thought I was not going to make it.

I was breathing so hard I was sure anyone within a 10-mile radius could hear me. My leg calves were on fire, and I remember thinking I did not train enough for this.

The best part about the whole event was the friendly atmosphere of the crowd and runners alike. Everyone provided each other with words of encouragement and that really went a long way.

The weather was decent in my opinion, although it was rainy; that did not discourage us from finishing. Since then, I have also ran in the Rainsville Freedom Run in which I also had a great time and was able to shave 15 minutes off my time. In case y'all are wondering, I did not feel like dying after that one.

You'd be surprised what you can achieve with a change in routine and determination. If you have ever thought about running or jogging or even walking a 5K, I encourage it.

I am looking forward to my next run at Cloudland, Georgia, the 4th Annual Stars-Spangled 5K Fun Run on July 6.

— Cinthia Rico is a staff writer for the Times-Journal. She can be reached at cinthia.rico@times-journal.com.

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