This weekend as big for me…. starting with a new tat (Mother’s Day present this year!)….
wrapping up with me running my very first (ever) 5K!
Back in April a local homeschool mom started a walk/jog/run club at the collective I coordinate for homeschoolers. Her class started off in early to mid April and was intended to get us moms off our butts. I enthusiastically signed my name on the dotted line knowing that I truly need to get moving. After 5 pregnancies and nursing for the past 14+ years, I truly needed to commence project “pay attention to me.”
As the time approached, however, I was dreading every moment of it. Was I going to be the last one? Was I going to be found laying on the ground from complete lack of oxygen? I prayed for rain that first week, and rain it did!!! 😉 I figured rain would mean that I was not giving up. Cause…. after all…. I would never cave. I signed up after all. I committed to this endeavor and I was going to see it through. That’s just my personality. I may grumble the entire way, but I will do as I have promised.
That morning of glorious rain she approached each of us and asked us what our goals were for the next five weeks. I was brutally honest saying that I have never (ever) liked running. I am a swimmer…. soccer player. Yes, soccer involved running, but it’s a fun strategic game! Running? Well…. let’s face it…. running is long and boring. It leaves you to think WAAAAYYY too much. Gives you too much time to ponder. Leaves your entire body feeling like its been run over by a mack truck (well…. if you are as out of shape as I was at the time). But…. I signed up and I would like to be able to not hate it so much. I did not anticipate she could change my mood about running! Of course not! My hope was that being able to build physical endurance in the sport that I would grow to not hate it. So my goal for those five weeks was to simply gain endurance so that running, let’s say a mile, would not feel like I just climbed Mt. Everest.
So escaping that first week, I again prayed for rain. The rain graced me…. but a wee to early in the AM so it was bright and clear by the time it was class run time. I get C all snuggled into the jogging stroller (that said instructor was so graciously letting me borrow so I truly had NO excuses…. even with the baby!)…. and head on out. She had a neat little 1.5 miles mapped out in the local neighborhood and we (who were just getting into physical activity for the first time in centuries) were encouraged to run one block then walk one block for the 1.5 miles. I was able to handle that…. and even walked the 2nd time around, completing 3 miles that day. The following week we were to get back out there again and attempt to add more. But frankly…. who was going to be able to add anymore if I was just doing it one time a week!?!
SO…… By that 2nd, going into the 3rd, week I started jogging a home too. Let’s face it, at home, without the jogger (having my amazing babysitters at hand), I was able to truly concentrate, truly build endurance and truly get comfortable with my body moving again. I concentrated on that all week long. Mondays I joined the mama yoga class at AJCW as well, so 1 day was yoga, 1 day was off, and then the other days ran a minimum of 1.5 miles. By the end of the five weeks I was testing out doubling that distance, but then settled on feeling like 1.5-2 miles was what I could handle at the moment. When I felt strong with that, I’d add more distance.
Ultimately…. I wanted to be able to do a 5K. I have zero, zilch aspirations to do a marathon, half marathon, or even 10K. I am quite satisfied with the idea of being able to maintain a steady pace for 3.1 miles and not feel like I’m on deaths doorstep. For the next several weeks after class ended, I was running at minimum, 2 miles a day. I grew into a pattern of running three days and taking a day off. It seemed like a day off somewhere helped my body readjust and grow and that coming back to it after a hiatus helped me acquire more strength an endurance.
At one point I felt like maybe my first 5K would be late summer or early fall. I had this notion that I would like to be running it in the 30-35 minute range for me to ‘show’ my stuff. And then…. as I started investigating what runs I could do, I came to the realization that I truly wanted my first run to be meaningful. For a cause. For a purpose. Not just a 5K just to do a 5K. I truly wanted to do the Race Against Hate…. but…. ACK! It was scheduled for mid-June! Could I really do a 5K in just a matter of 12 days?! I did a few more 2 miles runs…. ya know with all that time to think about things, you tend to get to a place of decision. I came home and said…. “I’m going to do it!” I explained myself to the fam and they encouraged me to do it. How could I back down from that much encouragement and support?? I scoped out a plan and with in the next day or so I began a 3 mile run routine.
It was not at all easy…. It was not at all enjoyable…. But you know something? I did it. I did not collapse. Part way through that 12 days, I eventually bought myself actual running clothes to run in. Half way through, I logged in on the very last day of online registration and registered myself. I was in it. I was in it for the long haul…. was going to see this through. It became so vitally important to me to show my kids that despite not ‘loving’ the thing you are doing…. beside not being an ‘expert’ in the thing you are doing…. you could accomplish a goal you set for yourself. If you truly set a personal goal that achievement is possible…. despite any factors facing you… you can accomplish your goal when you set your mind to it. My kids were seriously my inspiration through this whole thing! They remain so on a daily basis.
They also became inspired as well and opted to ALL do the Youth Mile race at the RAH. I was soooo proud of them for even trying, let alone accomplishing! They practiced running a mile only twice before the race day, and they did a super-duper job on the day of the race! I am sooo proud of them!
The day of my race, I was pretty excited. I knew I had the physical endurance to accomplish this 3.1 miles, and I was doing something that was so important for the world today…. AND…. I was showing my family something that was so important to ME! The day was soooo hot and humid. You could literally slice the air with a knife it was so thick. The bell goes off and off I go. I am psyched. The race feels super long for me. So immensely long I think…. “perhaps I have not been practicing 3 miles a day after all?” But then, being a part of this immense group of people racing against hate, uniting for unity, peace, and the like…. that was a pretty intense feeling. Eventually the light at the end of the tunnel came clear. I could see that end line! I knew my family was there and I was sooo excited to see them. I edge closer and closer, slowly slowly 😉 … but eventually I see all of their smiling faces and I begin to well up.
I feel the tears coming. I am holding it back. I don’t know why I feel the need to hold it back. Perhaps because this is such a personal moment. I don’t want anyone to presume I am hurt or injured…. and I don’t want to share with anyone this personal accomplishment I just experienced. So I just smile and boom and well….. tears come to the surface, but not completely over run. I see my family and can’t wait to talk to them. What a magical moment! That 39 minute 5K was one of the best things I have done for myself in a long long time! Not to mention my kiddos who are getting ready for their races. The line up begins for the kiddos. They all get out there and accomplish a full youth mile. I was soooooo immensely proud of them. They rocked it!
I got back out there this AM to do my 3 mile run. My goal is to persist on the 3 miles to become stronger and build endurance. I want to drop my time for the next 5K I run. Yes…. there will be a next. No, it’s not over yet. It very well may never end. I don’t have a set plan as to how many 5K’s I intend to do, but I do know that I want to run now. I can’t necessarily say I love it yet. I do like it a whole lot (don’t hate is a much as I did before). I love the feeling I carry with me afterwards…. all day long. I do love feeling more fit. I love that I have dropped a clothing size already. I do love that I feel like I have conquered the world. Eventually…. I will even come to LOVE running. And when I can actually say “I love running,” I feel may be the point in time when I deem myself worthy of the prestigious label of “Runner.” Till then…. I am enjoying this journey of well-being, self-care, and will preserver till the next 5K and then….. just keep running, just keep running, just keep running…. that’s what I do…. I run… run… run!