About three months ago, I started running. I had been thinking about doing something to try and up the ante on my working out to get the baby weight off. People had been talking about training to run. I went on a few runs, doing the "run three poles, walk one pole" routine but I was pretty aimless. My friend mentioned that she was doing a "couch to 5k" programme and that you could download podcasts and during the music, you would be told when to run and walk in intervals, ultimately working up to a 5k run. That sounded good to me since I had no interest in running and having to time myself.
To be honest, much as the idea interested me, I didn't think much would come of it. I have a long history of working out in some form or other but I am not exactly athletic. I have always thought of myself as being an inferior athlete and I tend to shy away from anything fitness-related that has to be done with other people. Truly, I didn't believe that I would finish but I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.
The programme was surprisingly painless. I found this programme - referred to on itunes as the "Christian Indie Couch to 5k". Some of the music is surprisingly good while other tracks will always be indie because nobody in their right mind would buy them. I was so proud of myself as I went, week after week, and never had trouble meeting the expectations of that week of the programme. I remember when I got to the point of a 25 minute run with no walk break, I was so worried I wouldn't be able to do it and I ended up crying when I completed it, I was so surprised and proud of myself.
The goal of all of this was to be able to run the 5k run at our town's spring fair. There's a midway and fair but the athletics are really the focus of the fair. On Saturday morning, there's a 5k run/walk and I wanted to do the run. Again, I didn't think I would actually accomplish it but by last week, I had run the route without a break and knew I could do it. I went online and registered.
This morning was the run. I was terrified. I have come to realise that in the last few years, I have become very risk adverse - I don't like to do things that challenge me too much, I have too little confidence in myself. It's strange - motherhood has enriched my life in so many ways but it seems to have eroded my confidence outside of home. When we lined up in that big crowd to start the run, I was actually shaking a bit. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to do it, that I would be last, that I would stick out as the non-athlete amongst the athletes. It ended up being such a high. I finished in the middle of the pack with a decent, if not great, time of 32:08. I can't tell you the high I felt as I came into the last 100 metres with people cheering and seeing Pk, Dh and Baby Bean, with Pk yelling, "Yay, Mummy!" To know that I did it, I never stopped to walk (I didn't even slow down for water, I wanted so badly to be able to say that I RAN the entire race) was so powerful for my confidence. I walked on air the rest of the day and I think the feeling will stay with me for a while. I did it, I WAS good enough.
I also hate having photos of me, so it says a lot that I am putting up several, and several where I look awful (a thunderstorm hit about half way through the race and by the time I hit the finish line, I was drenched and a tiny bit afraid that I was going to be hit by lightning!)
Coming up to the finish line:
My cheering section, who made me feel so proud:
As I said, a drowned rat!
(When I looked at this photo up close, I realised that if one is going to be photographed in tight clothing, always stand beside someone who is much shorter and much heavier, it really is flattering - oops, did I just admit that??)
Coming up to the 3k mark
The next question is where to go from here. I have loved the forward momentum of training and the knowledge of the fact that I was accomplishing something. I am debating trying for a 10k, I am just not sure how long I should allot for training before I attempt it. Whatever I decide, today is a day I will cherish and I plan on keeping going!