This weekend was insane – as in the go, go, go, no time to stop and smell the roses busy kind of insanity that I thrive on. And although the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, my last 20 mile long run before Cinci, and acoustic Andy Grammer in concert are all probably way more interesting to you than a local 5K I’ve already run three times, it is most important to me because the 2009 Run For Your Life is page one of my running story.
In 2009 I was working in Parma – a job I loved entirely too much and thought I would keep forever – when I got an email about a 5K with an attendance incentive. The school district with the most participants would win $5,000 for their health and wellness program, and the powers that be in P-town decided we would go for the gold. Attached to the e-mail were three training plans, with walk-only, run/walk, and run-only options. Although I was always athletic and loved playing team sports, I had never in my life voluntarily run ANYWHERE, so I opted for the run/walk plan. I also convinced Mike and Kelly to train and run with me.
I was terrible at following the training plan. Most of my runs were completed on a treadmill at the middle school in cotton t-shirts, basketball shorts, and whatever tennis shoes I owned at the time. I HAD to listen to music and created a 5K playlist that included favorites like “Ready to Run,” “Suddenly I See,” “Stronger,” and “Girlfriend,” which I burned to CDs since I didn’t have an iPod. I had no fancy electronics and scribbled my run data on a photocopied version of my training plan, which had me doing run/walk repeats three times a week and 40 minute walks twice a week, which I never did. After three months of training, race day finally came with lots of nerves and friendly Parma faces. I stuck to my “walk a little after every mile” strategy and barely squeaked under my sub 30 goal.
I only ran a handful other races in 2009. Early in 2010 Mike challenged me to run the CLE half marathon, but it wasn’t until I put on crazy weight and hit the lowest of the lows that I decided I wanted to be a “runner.” I registered for the 2011 marathon and created this blog to keep myself accountable. I found myself starting with a running tabula rasa. It was hard to get into a solid routine, and there were SO many days I hated running. But every long run was “my longest run ever!” and added to my confidence and drive towards fitness…and happiness. I joined a soccer team, started boxing, ran an ultra marathon, and now have my sights set on Boston.
And it all started with one little 5K.
Saturday’s 5K felt like home. After a quick warm-up jog with super speedy Michelle and Bicep Beth, I ran sans musique but avec Garmin. My breathing was off and my legs felt heavy, but I enjoyed the shorts weather and familiar route and ended up placing second in my age group (bested by a Vibrams-wearing girl who was celebrating her 30th birthday). I got the cutest, tiniest plaque ever and finished off my morning with a stop at Caribou Coffee on Bagley Road, a four-year tradition (Campfire Mocha! Mmm!).
Looking at the pictures from last year, I can barely believe how far I’ve come and how much I’ve changed. I want to shout my story from the rooftops. A lot of people at work have asked for my “secret,” (DO THE WORK!), so I’ve picked a local 5K and am planning a training program for the staff at my current school. Because if I can do it, they can.
After all, it’s only one little 5K. (:
23:29, 56/314 overall, 2/25 in my age group
PROS: Shorts weather, familiar faces, placing in my age group, great grub, and new t-shirt design
CONS: Heavy legs, standing in the rain during the awards, not passing the Vibrams girl