Friday, August 9, 2013

My First 5K!

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a runner.  Many people seem to run so effortlessly, with the wind in their hair, as free as a bird.  (Not to mention it’s a great excuse to wear yoga pants and a comfy sports bra.)  I’m not one of these effortless runners: my lungs burn, my side hurts, my legs feel like cooked noodles, and soon enough, I’m completely miserable.  My brothers, on the other hand, can run effortlessly.  They are on the high school’s cross country running and track teams.  It’s not uncommon for my brothers and my dad to run to and from work instead of driving a car, because it’s “fun” and “good exercise.”  Meanwhile, I’m collapsed on the side of the road, huffing, puffing, and filled with envy.  I wanted to change that.

One of my dad’s favorite saying is “How do you dig a big hole?  You keep digging.”  I figured “how do you become a good runner?  Keep running” was worth a try.  I also know that fear is one of the most powerful motivators (at least for me it is), so right away I signed up for a local 5k.  I needed to go from only being able to run for a few yards to being able to complete a 5k in a month’s time.  Almost every morning, I got up early and went for a run.  Slowly, I was able to run farther and faster.  I didn’t have to stop and catch my breath as much.  It was really hard for me, but I was making progress!  I also did a lot of reading about different running techniques and tips for new runners.  I felt like a sponge just soaking up any information I could find about running.  It was official, I was obsessed with running.

Last week, the day of my first 5k finally came.  I had made goals I wanted to achieve and I was nervous I wasn’t going to meet these goals. I had a well thought out plan of what I would wear, what I would eat for breakfast, and how I would warm up.  As I stood at the starting line, I thought about how far I had come: running was something I was never good at and yet here I was, about to run 3.11 mile with 70 other people.  I had made so much progress!

I’m not going to lie, running that 5k was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  The course had large hills that I wasn’t used to and it was really warm out.  As I ran, I told myself that I would never ever run again, running just wasn’t meant for me. But I had goals I wanted to reach and times I wanted to make.  If this was going to be my one and only 5k, I at least wanted to try my best.  My high school swim coach used to say “pain is temporary, glory lasts forever.”  I kept repeating this phrase to myself over and over. And he was right!  I crossed the finish line 6 minutes faster than my goal time!  I was so happy and proud of myself that my burning legs and wheezing lungs were the last thing I could think about.  It was all so worth it!

I’m really proud of myself for all the hard work I put into running!  As I said before, I’m not naturally a runner and it takes a lot of effort for me to run more than a few yards.  This has really helped my self-confidence.  I realize that if I can become a runner, I can do anything I set my mind to.  I’m already looking forward to my next 5k!  I'm excited to keep pushing myself physically and maybe, someday, I’ll be able to run effortlessly with my brothers.

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