One thing I remember clearly from my first race – the Bellco Colfax 5k – in 2013 is how utterly exhausted I was upon finishing. Zach and I went to Denver Biscuit Company afterwards and all I really wanted to do was take a nap (even before devouring my sleep-inducing biscuit with sausage, maple syrup, apple butter, and a fried egg). I had just started running about 2 months before, and my pace of 11 minutes per mile was the fastest I had ever run that distance before. I was super proud of myself for what I had accomplished.
If you had asked me back in 2013 whether I thought I would ever run a half marathon or hold anything faster than a 10 min/mile pace for anything longer than a mile, I would have laughed at the thought and moved on to a new subject. However, time has shown that the 2013 version of myself was utterly and totally wrong because that 2013 version of myself discounted the value of hard work and determination.