I haven’t talked about it on here a lot, but today is race day!
I became a runner just about five and a half years ago. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I was ready for a change. I was overweight and out of shape and out of the blue I decided I would run a 5k. Seriously have no idea what I was thinking, I couldn’t run around the block, let alone for 3 miles! But, I made a decision. Then I made the plan.
First I had no idea how long it would take me to work up to that. I searched and found a plan called the Couch to 5k plan. It’s simply genius in how it literally takes a person who can’t/doesn’t run and make them a runner in just about 9 weeks. Now, some people take a little longer, some shorter, but the basic plan goes if you run 3 days a week according to the intervals set out, you can actually run for 30 minutes, which is approximately what it will take to finish at least most of a 5k. Adrenaline is supposed to get you the rest of the way, I suppose.
So I downloaded the podcasts on my iPhone and committed. I planned which days I would run. I bought a pair of shoes (from a box store because I seriously had no idea what I was doing) and I got some cheap running shorts and t-shirts from Walmart (again, no idea what I really needed). Dug out my old sports bras from all my failed attempts at getting fit at the gym… don’t get me started on why this was a truly bad idea. But I did it.
And it was HARD!
But I kept going. It was still hard. But I kept going. Then I realized I was running about 5 minutes straight without a break! That was like a serious victory for me! About 9 weeks in I had committed with a friend to run a very small 5k with her family. My only goal was to run as much of it as I could. It was a very hot, very humid July morning. And I did my very best for that day! I did take a couple of walking breaks, but I finished! It took me over 40 minutes, but I didn’t die!!!! I was a runner!
I kept going after that. Ran another 5k that October, with only one short walk break and finished in 36 minutes. Major improvement! After that, there was no stopping me. In the five years since, I’ve run so many 5k’s, several 10k’s, four 25k’s, even an 8k! I have done one marathon… which may or may not be my only marathon (more on that later) but my favorite distance to train and race is the half marathon. (And let me not understate the importance of a well-fitted pair of quality running shoes OR a running bra for us girls… for real, see the pros at your local running store, they are life-changers!)
Today’s race is my 10th! In September of 2011, my dear college friend Wanda came all the way from her home in the UP (upper peninsula for anyone not from Michigan) to Holland to run with me for my very first. She was the one who had inspired all my crazy running in the first place, so it was very appropriate! We had a great weekend together, but the thing I remember the most was just the feeling of complete and utter joy at crossing the finish line! I had done something I had never even thought I could do! Something most people would never even attempt! I was SO strong!
That feeling still hits me at every finish line. And I can’t wait to feel it again in a few hours! So, I line up this morning with friends that have trained with me all year to run another half marathon. 13.1 miles which will take me a little over 2 hours to run. I’m not fast. I’m not the slowest. We are all strong. We are runners. I’m as ready as I can be!
Let’s do this!