Sunday, June 27, 2010

Running to the Finish Line

If you would've asked me about a year ago about running a 5K, I would've scoffed at the very suggestion.

Me, a runner? Not likely! Of course I was having a few health challenges last year, but still running was NEVER something I was interested in doing.

Only a few months later things changed. I started wondering what the big deal was with running, and I was impressed with several friends who took up running and were having great success with it. I started wanting to know for myself if running was something I could ever do.

Smirk found a program online that's basically designed to help you prepare for a 5K (even if it doesn't specifically say that), and I started following it. Unfortunately, the commitment wasn't there, so I was unsuccessful. After Christmas I decided I wanted to try it again partially because there's a certain power that comes from conquering something you've always disliked and partially in honor of my niece, whom I knew could never run with her bad heart.

I did great at training for the first two months of the year. It was only running around my basement, mind you, but it was still running, and I was proud of myself. But after my niece died, I lost it for a couple of months, and several things fell by the wayside, including running. By the time I was ready to take it up again, it was May and I was doing a walking challenge for work. I incorporated my running right into that and discovered a strength and endurance that I didn't know I possessed. I (gulp) discovered that I was beginning to not hate running anymore, even if it still made me anxious whenever I started preparing to go for a run.

Then Smirk asked if I wanted to do a 5K at the end of June. A 5K in only a month? Could I be ready? I decided that ready or not I was going to do it.

Which leads me to Saturday morning when I found myself at Sugarhouse Park, relatively early in the morning with a large group of people being the same crazy that I was. I had trained hard all that week and by the time Thursday came, I was sick of training and ready to just do the race. Surely it couldn't be as bad as all the days of running I'd just done. I was glad as I looked around the group to discover that not everyone looked like they'd been running for years. In fact, several looked similar to me, i.e. people just trying out a 5K for the first time.

We all gathered at the starting line and prepared to take off. The butterflies in my stomach were threatening to fly up at any moment, but I tried my best to squelch them. And then we were off.

I should tell you now that I am NOT a fast runner by any means, but I do try to be steady. Smirk and I kept an even pace, and we ran for the entire first lap and then some. I took about a minute to walk as we went into the second lap and then I was running again until we started going down the grassy slope. If you're not familiar with running on grass, it's harder than concrete, well in my opinion anyway, so I walked down the slope, through the picnic area and back onto the road for a short time. Then I was running again and made it almost the whole way up the second hill heading to the finish.

Once I got back to the concrete that surrounds the park and knew the finish line was pretty close, I knew I had to run the last quarter of a mile or however long it is. And run I did. I was determined to see this through to the end. As I passed through the finish line (my time was 36 something, but I don't remember exactly), I felt such a strong elation. I was delighted to give 5 to the guy standing by the timer, and my excitement continued as I realized what I had just done: I had run a 5K!! Smirk was right behind me. We both did amazing!! I was a little surprised when I almost started crying out of excitment. * Sigh * Sometimes I hate being a complicated female!

This experience has just taught me that sometimes we can do things we never thought possible. And if you set a goal (provided it's reasonable) and then work toward accomplishing it, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to. I was thinking before the race how excited I was that I no longer have to run, but I'm surprised in that I now want to keep running. Who would've thought that could happen? Certainly not me!


gag01001 said...

Way to go, Tammy! (Even if I am slightly disgusted that you now LIKE running.)

Andersons said...

You forgot to add that after you ran the 5k, you chased Addie around for four hours! You're amazing!

Kyle and Lacey said...

Yeah, Tammy Faye! That is awesome. I'm proud of you. It sounds like a fun experience!