How I Survived My First 12K

Hooray! The day has come and gone, but I’m so excited to say that I finished my first ever 12K—that’s 7.5 miles people! I began this journey back in January as a part of my 2018 goals. And I’m proud to say that I finished this race and didn’t stop or walk any of it! I did learn a lot though from my second official race that I would love to share with you and anyone who is running a race.

  1. Know the elevation gain beforehand

Before signing up for this race I had no clue that it would be all trail running and have a giant hill. When looking at races definitely look at the course map and ask for an elevation map as well. This will let you know right away how steep of a climb you might have to go through and this can help you with training. I did not train for trail running nor did I think I’d be climbing a mountain, but the cross-training of hiking definitely helped propel me up this trail. Look to see if the surface you are running is paved vs gravel, mountain bike trail vs open field.

  1. Prepare for all types of weather

Weather oddly enough plays an incredible role in the race. The weather forecast was looking nice and sunny, but actual race day was raining….and I mean like constant downpour rain. Good thing for raincoats or so I thought. I had done some running in the rain before, but not downpour rain so of course I kept my raincoat for the start and figured I could wear it and not get too hot through the race. Well, that was a mistake…when you get hot on a race you cannot just drop your coat off at a coat check, you have to carry it around your waist, which was not fun to do. You want to run with as little as possible. Most races offer a free bag drop—use it. You can bring warmer clothes or things to change into and they will bring it to the finish line. It’s easier to wear less and be a bit chilly at the starting line then to discard layers. Your body will warm up–even if it’s pouring rain like my race was. Lesson learned for my next race!

  1. No pain, no gain–keep telling yourself there’s no quitting

Don’t get me wrong, but even with all my training, this was tough. By about mile 2 I was huffing and puffing; I wanted to stop the burning in my calves. But you have to keep telling yourself that you can do it. Some people listen to music so make yourself a great running playlist that motivates you. And if you can’t or do not like wearing headphones then focus on the finish line and know that you are doing your absolute personal best. There were so many times I was ready to stop, but I just kept telling myself to keep going. Plus, once you stop your legs feel like jello and start cramping so you want to keep running even if it’s a slower pace. Give yourself a goal; mine was pass 10 people and don’t be last. These goals allow you not to quit. The pain in your calves is real, but you have to keep going.

  1. Push and challenge yourself

Last lesson I learned was to push myself. Without the training and words of wisdom from so many, I do not know if I would have ever even  attempted to run for this many miles. I’m not a runner and honestly never liked running, but now I’m enjoying runs outside. You have to just keep pushing yourself to the limit and challenging yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to; I’m living proof. In January I thought this would have never been possible, but look now. AND I’m now training for a half marathon in September.  Just another thing to check off my bucket list. 2018 has been a year of growth, learning, and doing things for myself–pushing myself to the absolute limits and it feels amazing to say I’ve already checked off so many goals! Stay tune for my half marathon journey along with my million hikes across the WA area!

Taylor Shimizu

Taylor Shimizu

Communications Director at Young Professionals of Seattle
Taylor Shimizu is an account executive at Intersection, a technology and media company committed to improving the urban experience. She specializes in transit advertising--advertising on King County Metro, Sound Transit, and the light rail stations ( She has over 8 years of media sales under her belt and loves connecting with others in the community through Seattle Rotary, meetups, and community service. Let's connect:
Taylor Shimizu