Before I dive into this post. I need to set the ambiance. First, go grab a 1980's headband and put it on. You know the type, something Olivia Newton John would have worn in her "Let's Get Physical" video. If you don't have one, that's okay. Just use your imagination and pretend it's on your head. Go on, work with me here. It will be worth it. Trust me. Now, open your window wide. Breathe in deeply, really getting some fresh air into your lungs. You are almost ready. Now.just.click.play:
Yes! Do you feel it? That rush of excitement? Are you smiling? I hope so. Because that is exactly how I felt the first time I completed my first 5K.
I've always wanted to be a runner. For years I thought I couldn't do it. In fact, over the last couple of years my mind was running with excuses as to why I should not to run. "Oh, I have bad knees," I would say. Or, "I am too freaking fat to run." Excuses, excuses, excuses.
Last year my husband and I participated in a 5K walk. Before the walk, there was a 5K run. As we watched the runners make their way through the finish line, we looked at each other and vowed right then and there to participate again in 2013, but we would run instead. When my husband brought it up in March of this year, I was back to making excuses again.
This time it was, "Oh, I tried running last year. I decided I didn't like it." Yes, I decided I didn't like running. Wrong, I decided I wanted to be lazy. Running is hard work. I didn't know if I was up for it. That's the honest truth. Shame.on.me.
Some time in April, while walking on the treadmill I got inspired. Maybe it was a day in which I was pushing my walking pace into higher gear. Whatever it was, I decided at that very moment, I was going to train to run a 5K.
I set out to become a runner. I completed my first 5K on June 9th. My time, speed and place were terrible. The good news is, I didn't finish last. The even better news? I completed it. I set out to complete a goal and I did it. Awesome. I remember getting teary eyed. An entire onslaught of emotions hit me. Fast. Then it was over and I was already thinking about the next race!
Fast forward to July 2013 - our next 5k race: Glutton for punishment? Maybe. But I had something to prove. That I could beat my time, but more importantly that I could do it again. I didn't beat my time, but gosh darnit, I completed my second 5K race. I enjoyed every second of it. The feeling of running on an airport runway - spectators telling me I can do it, that I am awesome and clapping me into the finish. Just amazing.
Running is still hard work. I am not going to lie. I am neither a fast runner nor a good runner, yet. I still run, at least 3 times a week. Some days it sucks and I want to stop. But, I don't. I keep going.
Next up? The Survival Race in September. It's a 5K race and mud run with obstacles. For me, this race is less about running and more about challenging myself. We'll do another 5K race later in the month (yes, another one!).
Life is meant to be lived, we are meant to challenge ourselves in so many ways. Running takes a lot of determination to succeed. But the benefits far exceed any temporary huffing and puffing I experience along the way. If everything in life were easy - what fun would it be? Running has affected me both physically and mentally - all for the better.
My advice, challenge yourself to do something you've always wanted to do. Stop making excuses as to why you can't. You might surprise yourself. I know I did. I am now looking forward to 10Ks next year and a marathon in the years to come.