I was outside playing with my 2 young daughters, running around the yard. I couldn’t even make it around the house (and we live in a small house!) I was completely out of breath and my face was all red. At that point I realized “holy crap, I am out of shape!” It really started bothering me, and after talking with some friends and family, I decided to begin the couch to 5K program. I didn’t care about training, or racing, or any of that. I just wanted to be able to run and not feel like I was going to die!
I went online and researched the program. I came up with a training schedule and printed it out. Next, I signed up for a local 5K run that was happening in 11 weeks – shortly after I would be finished with the Couch to 5K. Then I started running. I didn’t have a smart phone, so I would write the run/walk times on my hand with a sharpie, I soon learned pen came off with my sweaty palms, and timed my sessions using a regular old watch. I didn’t really have “running” shoes or clothes, but my favorite old t-shirt and tennis shoes worked just fine. I ran this way for a few weeks, feeling accomplished and proud of myself at each milestone. One day my husband let me use his phone, so I could try running with music. Yep, the next day I went out and bought my first smart phone! Then my girlfriend told me I should really get new running shoes, and I bought those too. Then I discovered “performance” running clothing, and bought a bunch of that too. WOW – all these conveniences really did make a difference. And I was officially becoming a runner! I’ll never forget, at one point my dad looked at me and said “you aren’t going to become one of those crazy people that run half-marathons and stuff? Are you??”
I finished that first 5K I had signed up for. My family came to cheer me on with posters and cow bells. I was so proud of myself, and cried the entire last ½ mile. I didn’t care about my time; all I cared about was that I ran the entire thing without stopping.
Now that my mission was accomplished, I stopped running; for about a week. Then I realized that I actually missed it, and that I NEEDED it! That was it. I was hooked. Now, here I am training for my first half-marathon. I’m still not sure I’ll be able to accomplish it. But I’m trying. And again, I don’t care about my pace or overall time – I just want to finish it. And sitting here writing about it makes me cry just thinking about the feeling I’ll get when I cross that finish line. With the words from my dad in the back of my head, I just want to say “Yes dad, I’m becoming one of those crazy runners that do half-marathons and stuff.”