Thursday, March 24, 2011

My very first 5K.

For most of my life, I was not a runner. No. That doesn't put it strongly enough. I hated running. HATED it. I remember having to run around the track in P.E. class and feeling as though I was being put through torture. "Run the straights, walk the curve." Those instructions still entailed too much running for my adolescent body. That's not to say I didn't get physical activity. I was on the cheerleading/dance team and we practiced for two hours at least four times per week. We worked it. Trust me. But running? NEVER. No way.

Even when my friends played soccer or track in the off-season and encouraged me to join one of those teams, I wasn't having any of it. Seriously, do you see how much soccer players run? Not for me. And track? That was all running. Again, not my thing. I could jump, dance, lift, and twirl. But run? Nope.

So when I started running a few years ago, it was a novel thing. I had been attempting to run a bit in the spring, but when a certain bad relationship officially ended, I put my energy into running. Granted, at that time, I was running for a minute, walking for two, then eventually running for one minute and walking for a minute. My running coach? A very good friend and coworker. He was a friend that was willing to watch me break into tears as I attempted to run that last minute and felt I couldn't. He was a friend that encouraged me when I thought I couldn't go any further.

We were gearing up for an annual fundraising race in which our firm participated. I wanted to run it. I needed to run it. I am not sure if I was proving something to myself, or just that I wanted to not be seen as unathletic by my other coworkers (let's face it, I wasn't then, and I'm not really now), but I wanted to run this 5K. So I got a running buddy. I would take the el to his house on lovely Saturdays and Sundays for our "training." Slowly, but surely, we would run together. Eventually, I could run three minutes at a time. I was so proud.

When it came time for the race, I was ready. Granted, I knew I wasn't going to run the entire thing non-stop. But I had my watch set to go on intermittent timing. I was going to do it. My very first 5K.

Of course, I was very slow. I ran alone, well, me and my pink running watch and hundreds of other huffing and puffing legal professionals. I ran for SEVEN minutes without stopping at the beginning, then resumed my pattern of running for 3:30, walking for a minute, for the rest of the race. When it came time for the last couple hundred meters, I was feeling victorious. I knew I was almost done. Then I saw him. My coworker jumped back into the course, a big smile on his face. Of course, he'd already finished, but he wanted to be there for me as I finished my very first race. I crossed the finish line with a HUGE smile on my face, feeling as though I had accomplished something rather big. For me, it was an accomplishment. The non-runner just ran a race.

Now? I can run an entire 5K with no walk breaks. I try to do that several times a year. I'm not hardly any faster, but the feeling I get when I cross the finish line? It is always exhileration. It took me three years to get here. And that coworker? Well, in thirty-seven days, I will marry him. Turns out he was the best running buddy a girl I could have ever wanted.

Who wants me to go viral with MY running plan? Move over Hal Higdon.


  1. AWWW. Cutest story ever.

    I hate running.

  2. Aw... Mush!

    Stories like that are how you know you've got a gudden. :)

  3. Ha, I HATED running in gym class (but the resultant public shaming kept me going).

  4. Congratulations! That's so amazing - I was like you. I once walked the mile in gym class on pure principle, now I do 4-5 half marathons a year!

  5. I really, REALLY love this story.

    Absolutely one of your best posts ever.

    Also, I'm with you on hating running. Miraculously, I had horrible cramps EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we had to run in gym class.

  6. This is positively one of the best and cutest stories ever. <3