If I searched back through my blog archives, I could probably find an instance or three of me admitting that I knew running would be good for me, if I would just do it. I know I’d find multiple instances of me doing it wrong and kicking my own ass too hard the first time out. I’d find documentation of several false starts, self-proclaimed failures, and lots of excuses.
I’m running my first 5K this coming Saturday.*
Technically, I’ll be run/walking my first 5K, since I can’t run 3.1 continuous miles quite yet. I’m trying really hard not to be embarrassed about this fact, and to just get out and do what I can. I’ll have plenty of opportunity to improve later.
So, how the hell did I even get interested in running? As with many things, the influences came from many directions, and I’m not sure which of the many planted seeds was the one that finally took.
I can tell you that the first time I seriously considered running was after one of my co-workers started running for weight loss back in Spring of 2008. He was using Roy Palmer’s method, and he shared the program with me. I wasn’t quite ripe for running yet, though, even though I knew I should do it.
Some time later, or maybe it was around the same time, I heard about the Couch-to-5K program — I think Mur Lafferty was the first to get C25K on my radar, although I continued to hear about it from other sources, too. Finally, after letting the idea circulate under the surface for a while, I got out and started C25K in March of this year.
Week 1 went great! I did Week 2 twice, since I’d missed a day and didn’t feel comfortable incrementing my run time yet. Week 3 didn’t go so well, and I stopped running for a month or two, then restarted the program in late June. Eventually, I gave up on incrementing my running time and just picked an interval that felt good and went with it.
I’d been toying with the idea of signing up for a 5K when sign-up time came for Race For The Cure. It was to be held in downtown Toledo, and I had a month or so before the race. I’d only been running once every couple of weeks, although I’d been walking two to three miles almost daily. Not surprisingly, when I decided to see how far I could run without stopping, I only made it one mile before I pretty much imploded. I haven’t tried to do that since.
Even though I could easily have run the race with walk breaks, I came up with a boatload of excuses as to why I couldn’t or shouldn’t sign up, and I didn’t. So, when the corporate e-mail came through about the Jingle Bell Run, I felt almost obligated to sign up. In fact, I barely gave it any thought; I signed up the day the e-mail showed up in my inbox.
My training has been sporadic overall: one week, I’ll run/walk 2.5 miles three days out of the week, and the next week I’ll only run 1.5 miles for a day or two. Since I signed up for the Jingle Bell Run, though, my training has been a little more consistent (except for that week when I was sick). Having basically a public performance to prepare for is a big motivator — even more so than the technical shirt I was going to promise myself as a carrot-on-a-stick reward for running three days a week.
I’m curious about how this 5K is going to pan out. Will I love it and want to train to do even better next time (and seek out more wintertime races), will I decide to hang up my running shoes for the winter, or will I go into an all-out fitness backslide?
Even though I can’t run more than a mile yet, I think I’m a runner in my head, finally. A slow runner, but a runner nonetheless.
I’m a runner, and runners run.
* The Jingle Bell Run benefits the Arthritis Foundation. I would humbly encourage you to make a tax-deductible donation, if you haven’t already. Arthritis affects someone you know.