I did it ~ after all these years, I finally ran my first official 5K!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a
serious debilitating mental block against running. I could hike down cliffs in Guam, through the Grand Teton trails or play tennis for hours but within three minutes of running, I would think of every excuse to stop. I signed up for the George Washington Parkway Classic in 2012 but backed out when my allergies flared (yes, I know, another excuse).
In London, I met a woman who ran ultra-distance races. She typically ran 100-mile races. Yes, ONE. HUNDRED. MILES. When I first heard about her long runs (and didn’t know her), I thought surely she must be obsessive and compulsive. It seemed (and still does) superhuman to run that far. After I got to know her, I couldn’t have been more wrong. She’s a bright, fun, and above all, BALANCED woman. She is a married to a wonderful, supportive husband (one of the nicest men I’ve ever met) and has two great sons who are so proud of her accomplishments. She isn’t obsessive at all.
She ran one of her ultra distance races last June and I was fascinated by all the details of what it takes to do a race such as that. It sounded incredibly painful and yet she persevered. I absolutely can’t get my head around the fact that she ran 100 miles. Not only did she run 100 miles but she beat the women’s and men’s record time. Within days of running the race, she went with me and several other women to the Royal Ascot Horse Race for Ladies Day. She had a little trouble getting up and down from the picnic blanket but other than that, she was the life of the party. No complaints about the after-effects even though her body had to be in serious recovery mode.
When I asked her why she endures these long, ass-kicking runs, she said because she wants to do it “while she still can.” Guess that’s as good of a reason as any. And the real kicker for me is that she didn’t start running until she was in her 40s.
How could I not be motivated and inspired by her?! So, last November, I signed up once again to run the GW Parkway classic 5K. The idea was to have a long “training” time. That plan didn’t work so well since we had the worst winter in 30+ years. Seeing as I’m not a runner in the best of weather, I certainly wasn’t getting out in the snow and cold. I went for TWO runs the entire winter ~ one for a mile and one for 2 miles. Needless to say I was sorely tempted to “excuse” myself from this race due to lack of training.
But then I thought of my ultra distant runner friend and carried on. And during the race, when I was at the half way point and was thinking how badly I wanted to walk the rest of the way, I thought of how Jean must have felt at mile 75. And yet she continued on.
Here’s what kept ME going today ~ the weather was perfect! My dear husband stayed with me earning his PW (personal worst) in a 5K and a piece of gum that a friend, Jayne suggested I chew while running. Yeah! Next time ~ yes, I do believe there will be another 5K in my future ~ I’m going to hydrate more and definitely do a few more training runs.
My favorite quote of the day was the woman standing behind me at the start of the race. When asked by her friend what her “goal” of the race was, she said “Completion”