Today marks the three year anniversary to my very first 5k – the Whatcom Literacy Council 5k in 2012.
I missed writing about my runniversary in April, but it was not lost on me that I have now been a runner for 3 years. I’ve been reflecting on my journey and progress lately, so this raceiversary is ripe with feels. That first race was so daunting. I was scared and nervous milling around the start line. Mr. came to cheer me on, but I felt so alone. The people, the process, it was all very foreign.
I made the usual rookie mistakes during the race and I’d never run on anything but very flat pavement. The race tackled some decent hills and was 90% on gravel and dirt trails. It was surprising how different it was to run with people around. I’d only ever run alone at that point, and the whole thing made me feel exposed and vulnerable and watched.
When I crossed the finish line, I don’t think I realized quite what I’d done. I knew I’d run my first race, but what I didn’t know was what I’d gotten myself into longer term. The bug really bit me quite hard and I signed up for race after race for the next 6 months. It was an enthusiastic race season and I started to push out of comfort zones with distance and location, trails and obstacles, books and podcasts.
I’ve been sick for the last few weeks – really down for the count with some awful flu/cold – and I’m only just now starting to run again. I’ve been half itching to get out and half dreading hitting the pavement and finding out how taking almost three weeks off had destroyed so much of the progress I’ve been enjoying this year. But instead, last night I found myself beaming ear to ear as I plodded along. It was such a joy to be out again in the sun treading well-worn side walks and passing familiar houses. I didn’t go far, and I didn’t go fast, but I was surprised at how great it felt.
Running feels truly integrated into my life these days. The last few weeks have been really rough forcing myself to stay in and rest. I’ve missed tons of great weather but I’ve also missed the physical and mental release. Without running, I think I might curl up in a ball and wither away.
I am running my June 5k this weekend and I’ll most certainly be thinking about my raceiversary and how far I’ve come, and how far I’ve gone.
April 26th was my runniversary! One year of running is a pretty big accomplishment for me and I thought you might like to know how I got here.
My friend Jamie began a jogging class at school and was really enjoying it. She was planning on doing a 5k and I just had a moment of thinking “Yea, I can do that” and offered to run one with her! It was hard to even say the words out loud but once I had, I figured there was no going back. I’d spend the next few weeks training to run a 5k, then probably never run again. I’d never really enjoyed running. I slogged through the timed mile in high school, and dreaded track workouts when I played volleyball. There was a spurt of interest in running in high school where I sorta took up jogging after school but it didn’t last long and it was never structured.
Once I committed, Jamie and I picked out a race in early July and I began the Couch to 5K (C25K) program. I started on on on Week 2 Day 1 and it was not as easy as I hoped. I tried to not get frustrated at my slowness and inability to sustain a jog. The slow and steady progress prescribed in the C25K we helpful for keeping my spirits up as almost every run included some length of time of running i couldn’t do last week (90 secs, 2 minues, 3 minutes, etc.). I so distinctly remember Week 4 running 5 minutes without stopping and I was ecstatic. I came home and proclaimed “Babe! Two weeks ago 90 seconds of jogging was hard and I just sustained a jog for 5 whole minutes!”
The C25K program also gave me a sort of permission to run/walk without being a failure. I somehow had it in my head before I began, that runners don’t walk and that if I couldn’t sustain a run for the whole amount of time I was out, then I wasn’t doing it right. How silly! I feel that the C25K program helped me see that I could succeed doing what my body needed and by pushing myself a little at a time. One doesn’t just get up one morning after not running and run a 5K that day (unless you are my Mr…. I’ll never understand him!).
I persisted through the program and ran my first 5K – The Whatcom Literacy Council 5K – on June 16th 2012. I ran most of it, and walked some, and I was so proud and happy at the end of it. Mr. was my cheerleader and when I came around the corner and saw his smiling face near the finish line, it gave me the push I needed to finish strong.
(This picture was taken by the wonderful MT before we were running buddies and it makes me happy that she was cheering me on from the start of this adventure. I think we both knew even then that we’d be dear friends eventually.)
That race began a love affair with races. I ran 7 more races during the subsequent 6 months and finished 2012 in better shape than I’ve been in for years.
The story continues, but I’ll save it for another post as I don’t want to tire you out. So, to be continued as the after school specials say.
What got you running? Or what was the catalyst for adopting a new habit?