Conquering 5km

Sarah McBride
4 min readOct 7, 2018

new city, new perspective. 🗽

My summer of calm was quickly turned on its head when my US visa got approved and, less than a week later, I was on a flight to New York City. I landed at 9PM and was wide awake by 5AM the next morning (shout out to jet lag). I had my first day of work ahead of me, but with the unnaturally early start I decided to put on my Nikes and go explore Williamsburg.

Jet lag favours the runner

Granted that first run was a bit all over the show. I spent the majority of the time on street corners with Google Maps up trying to figure out where the f I was. But it felt good to be out at sunrise exploring a new city.

The jet lag didn’t go away overnight and the next morning I found myself up at the crack of dawn again and this time getting lost in a different part of the neighbourhood. Sure I was stopping and starting a lot, but I was just happy to be running two days in a row and not feeling like my lungs were going to implode.

Action expresses priorities

Then I went to Montauk with a bunch of people I’d literally just met, had the craic of my life and woke up at 4am on Sunday to watch them nail a triathlon. I was *so* jealous that I wasn’t competing alongside them and I made a commitment to myself there and then that I’d take training seriously (new city, new me 💁🏼) — that within the next 6 months I’m going to do a half marathon. And maybe even in the next year, I could do a triathlon.

So I came into this week inspired, a little more settled into my new life in NYC and a lot less jet-lagged. And I just ran. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday. Each time shaving seconds off my /km pace. This morning I tackled the Williamsburg bridge — it’s arguably the steepest area of the city which added a new dimension to my 5km run.

let’s try keep it sub 5min/km, yeh?

In my feelingz

There’s something addictive about running against yourself. Each time I went to run I told myself I either had to run faster, further or just feel better throughout. The challenge now will be to build on this foundation of a solid 5km — to find a sustainable training plan and to stick at it.

a scientific running graph expressing my priorities

Running, when it’s going well for me, brings me an enormous sense of calm and control. It makes sense that this renewed enthusiasm for running has taken hold just as everything else in my life has been turned on its head.

I also found the perfect 5km route that takes me from my apartment to WNYC Transmitter Park, with the halfway point being a pier that overlooks the Manhattan skyline. Dreamy. I’ve found the consistency of running this same route immensely helpful in improving pace as the familiarity allows me to challenge myself across specific segments of the run, and the views from the pier continually providing instagram-friendly snaps. lol.

And there’s no better feeling in the world than watching the sunrise over Manhattan. There’s no better source of natural energy, buzz and positivity than pushing your body to run faster, further and smoother. It’s empowering and it’s energizing. I think I’m addicted.

me pure buzzin

So what are the lessons learned? How did I get from being lazy af to being addicted to running? The new perspective, both mentally and in my physical surroundings, certainly helped. But I think confidence had a lot to do with it. I banked one good run and the rest followed suit. The key lesson for me, then, is mindset. I was feeling pretty stagnant during my lazy summer in Northern Ireland and it filtered into my attitude towards running. I came to NYC, had the city at my feet and used my feet to run around the city. I shifted my mindset and got results.

I hope to take that positive mental attitude forward. Things aren’t always going to be sunshine and rainbows but hopefully in the future when I feel stagnant and the buzz from the run fades, I can look back on this post and on the Strava stats and be inspired to persevere. Because running brings such calm and confidence into my life, it would be a shame to lose it again.

The lazy summer is over and the lessons are learned. Now let’s run. 🏃‍

This is a follow-on post from Lessons from a Lazy Summer. Follow my running progress on Strava and follow my social life progress/NYC skyline spam on Instagram.

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Sarah McBride

Comms + ice cream @ Zenly. Writing about organic marketing & Gen Z musings.