I woke up this morning and stretched. There was this tightness in my thighs and it took me just a moment to remember... oh, yeah, yesterday morning I ran my very first ever 5K.
I did something, that for most of my life, I never even dreamed of doing. It was only a couple of years ago that the thought kind of sprung into my mind... that doing a 5K might be pretty, well, awesome. It became a bit of a bucket list idea. Something to think about but keep putting off. Just an idea.
You see, I was never a runner. I was always the last kid in gym class to cross the finish line. Occasionally a friend would pity me and run alongside with me. I just never saw the point. Honestly, as a small child, I don't think I really ran anywhere. I mean... I am sure I did. All toddlers have that deep seated desire to be chased as they run on those chubby little legs towards a freedom they can't even imagine.
I can't begin to tell you why I even started. I would do anything other than run. I was never graceful; I always tended towards the klutzy side of things. And as I gained weight it did not get better. It got worse and worse. Being active was never a good idea.
It was Tony who started bike riding and reminded me how much I had loved riding everywhere as a kid. One of my first memories is of being strapped to a child seat on the back of my brother's bike with an old belt and racing down Toe-Jam Hill, as it was referred to, the wind beating against my face.
So, I started riding again. We lost weight. I got a little less klutzy. Tony and I did some amazing rides but... those running races always looked fun, too... didn't they?
I started reading running magazines, playing with the idea. I thought one wild and crazy morning, why not? So I got dressed and went out the door, only to return in horrific pain. I had to message a friend and ask her what on earth I did wrong. My shoulder shouldn't hurt after a run! And I was doing it all wrong. I started watching You Tube videos about barefoot running. My husband bought me the coolest running shoes I have ever laid my eyes on. And, still, I did not run.
A few weeks ago a friend, I have mentioned her before, got me up and moving again. She inspired and encouraged me. I thought, ok, I am going to start that Couch-2-5K thing, too. She was about 2 or 3 weeks ahead of me (and believe me, yesterday, it was obvious). I started pinning everything I could on Pinterest to inspire me. I started to think, that maybe I might just kind of like running.
I mean, from what I understand, no one really likes running while they are doing it. Afterwords, that is when you like it. Sure there will be a moment or two while you are running that you feel like you are the greatest thing on the planet but there are also those moments where you just know you are crazy and that you could totally be doing something else.
I didn't even think I would be able to do this 5K at all. I had to take a whole 5 days off from my training, only the week before the race and it played havoc with the mental side of my running. Suddenly there was doubt that I should or could to it. That my health issue would make it so I would never be able to cross that 5K off my bucket list. The specialist told me to go for it, however, and that was all I needed.
It didn't erase those fears and I still feel cheated a bit that it took away A LOT of my confidence, but I did it anyway. I could have quit. I could have given up. Everyone said it was ok. That it would be perfectly fine if I did and I would be able to try again later.
The fact that I didn't might just be an even bigger accomplishment than that 5K. I have not always been a very confident person. I doubt myself continually. Give me any encouragement in discrediting myself and I will agree with you before you can even finish your sentence. I am the greatest hindrance to my own success.
So the fact that I woke up at 5:40 AM on July 4, 2016, ate a banana and some almond butter, laced up my shoes, and actually walked up to that starting line with sunscreen blurring my vision was nothing short of a miracle.
I walked some of it. As you know, running outside is not my forte, so pacing was a real issue for me. I was not competing with anyone but myself. My friend Jen was there by my side, her red tutu bouncing happily. She stuck with me (when honestly she could have run that whole thing without a second thought) and we finished in 39 minutes and 18 seconds. I was hoping for 40 minutes, knowing my limitations.
There was this adorable brother and sister and another kid with a spunky mohawk. There was this amazing woman, running all by herself, her pink tank top and a water bottle strapped to her wrist. An older gentleman with a t-shirt that read "God is Awesome," my chiropractor, people I recognized but for the life of me could not recall from where. And I was rooting for them all. My heart was on fire with love for each and everyone of those people because they were a part of a momentous occasion in my life.
I did something I never thought I could do. I did something I told myself I couldn't do. I proved myself wrong for ever not believing in myself.
I am still in shock, to be honest. I keep going and peeking at my bib number and the little medal I got, just to make sure it wasn't just a dream.
And you know what? It wasn't a dream.
I ran my very first ever 5K.
And you know what else? I am going to do it again.