To you fitness buffs or those who are athletically inclined, running may be no big deal, just a part of your normal fitness routine. But there's nothing normal about it for me.
As a kid growing up in Colorado, I loved to ski. Dad was on the Ski Patrol at Purgatory, and I grew up loving the slopes. I also enjoyed riding my 10-speed bike, and that was the sum total of my athletic pursuits. I never played any sports, unless you count the summertime touch football games we played on our street. So when my husband started doing Couch 2 5K with some friends, I thought "That's awesome...for him." He was getting up at 4:20 and running by 5:00am every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. After a few weeks, he was losing some weight, gaining some stamina, and really having a great time with our friends. In fact, he was annoyingly chipper and positive. One day, he suggested I join them. "No thank you, I don't run. And I definitely don't do 4:30 in the morning. Good luck with that", I quipped. Undaunted, he continued to invite me. "You don't have to run. You could just walk. It's fun, you'd like it!" he insisted. Finally, I agreed. "But just walking," I told him. "None of this 5K nonsense. And LOTS of coffee."
We met at a track near our house, and it was still dark when we got there at 5:00. The track is near a military base, and while we were there, we heard both Reveille and some nearby roosters. (Roosters??I'm up with the roosters??!) True to my word, I did NO running, just walking, around the track. I did that for a couple of weeks, while my husband and our friends ran. I guess I finally cracked under all that sweaty peer pressure, and early one Thursday morning, I gave Couch 2 5K a try. I quit the very first time! I thought I would die during the 60-second jogging intervals! I remember telling my friend Kelly "That was awful! I'm never doing that again!!" But I came back Saturday. And Tuesday. And pretty much three times a week from July through September, my husband dragging my sleepy self to the track with a hot cup of coffee in my hand.
Somewhere along the way, it was decided that after we completed the nine weeks of C25K, we should all run an actual 5K race. I was pretty sure this was a bad idea, but reluctantly agreed. I started to get stronger. I lost a little weight. I stopped feeling like I would die during the running intervals. I got a water bottle, and an armband for my iphone, but I drew the line at buying any of those silly shoes with five toes on them, or the ones that weigh less than a marshmallow. We managed to talk several friends into training and running with us, until we were nine instead of four. The fellowship and accountability of the group was amazing and powerful. Day after day, we kept showing up, not because we were so dedicated, but because we knew if we dared to sleep in, we'd receive eight text messages taunting us for our lameness. So we finished our training, and on September 24, 2011, we ran our first 5K. But that, my friends, is a story for another blog post. Now find a running buddy, and join me here on Monday for Lessons from the Run!