Labor Day, the day for rest doesn’t always have to be your typical lazy Monday.
This year for my favorite holiday weekend, I decided to try running my first 10K.
I’ve walked several 10Ks in my life, but I needed a faster qualifying time for a half marathon I signed up for next year, so I woke up at 5 a.m., threw on a black shirt with my navy shorts (it was too dark to tell the difference) and drove down to Chamblee for the iconic Big Peach Sizzler, which is now my favorite 10K in Atlanta.
It remains the primary Atlanta-based organization that helps raise awareness for cystic fibrosis and provides the funds from the race to assist CF families and support research for better cures.
So when you run this race, you’re not only getting in a great workout with either the 5K or 10K, but you are also helping support an important cause.
If you’re thinking to yourself: “How far even is a 5K, let alone a 10K?” Don’t worry, it’s not entirely all that bad.
A 5K is 3.1 miles and a 10K is 6.2 (and if your really going for that extra mileage, a half marathon is 13.1 miles and a marathon is 26.2).
The nice thing about running the Sizzler’s 10K rather than their 5K was that it was fast like a 5K but long enough to feel like a good workout without making me too tired for the rest of my day.
Starting in Chamblee, the course winds through parts of Brookhaven and finishes in Buckhead.
It is Atlanta, so there are several hills, but nothing too unmanageable as long as you know how to pace yourself.
Once you finish either the 10K or 5K, there is a large post-race finish line party featuring food, water, towels and medals from sponsors. T-shirts are included in the race payment. It’s a win-win type of situation, and I would definitely recommend trying it out.
So what are the benefits of getting up so early to run a 5K/10K anyway?
Well to start, in recent studies by Jennifer Van Allen on Runners World and Alexa Sooter from Rockay, running is said to lift symptoms of depression and improve your mood because it serves as a way for the mind to quiet down and relieve stress.
Running can also help with weight loss/maintaining as you continue to burn calories even after your workout. It also strengthens your bones and joints.
Plus, you get to explore new parts of town, run on the street, watch people cheer you on and meet new people from all over Atlanta, all for usually under $50.
Both 10Ks and 5Ks are great ways to step up your level of commitment and make qualifying times for larger races like the Peachtree Road Race and half marathons both in and outside of Atlanta.
Before you sign up for these races, start running on your own first rather than spending money and waking up early for a race that you have never trained or prepared for.
I love running through my neighborhood parks (not after dark), using the BeltLine (although the BeltLine can get crowded on the weekends) or going to the Chattahoochee River.
To find trails near you, use the app AllTrails to find your next favorite running route.
If you don’t want to run alone, there are tons of groups that meet around Atlanta (i.e. Atlanta Track Club) where you can find a group that runs at your pace, or you can start your own running group with friends or family.
Enjoy the process of running, and once you feel ready, sign up for a 5K or 10K and give it a try. You never know, running could become your new passion!
For a list of more, smaller Atlanta-based races, check out this website!
Lala (Lelia) Tolbert is a senior at the Atlanta Girls’ School. She loves to write scripts and blog about minimalism (follower her blog @ teenslivesimply.com). Her favorite movie is Titanic and she loves VOX!
This story was published at VOXATL.org, Atlanta’s home for uncensored teen publishing and self-expression. For more about the nonprofit VOX, visit www.voxatl.org.