In June of this year I made a life changing decision without even knowing it. I signed up for my first 5K race.
I can’t tell you what series of events fell into place to make me decide that “This year is the year!” or what ultimately prompted me to take on this challenge. I simply saw the advertisement for the local “Rattle Me Bones” race that was to take place on October 27th and eagerly created my profile online, set up my sponsor page and paid my $45 race fee. I’m 36 by the way, and the last time I “ran” further than the length of a supermarket parking lot was when I was in high school.
I admit I used to be one of those people that drove by those hard-core runners – out after 9 p.m., braving the wind, rain and sub-zero temperatures – and exclaim: “Why would anyone want to do that? It’s practically snowing!”
However, at about the three-week mark of my training program, it clicked. Running may be a solo sport but oddly enough, it’s one that can be shared with countless other runners who understand exactly how you feel about running. From the very moment you lace up your runners and your feet hit the pavement, you are immediately and whole-heartedly welcomed into the “Runner’s Club,” for lack of a better term. And you’re a member for life.
Even now, in early November, I love being outside, enjoying the fresh air, listening to my own music for once (no kiddie tunes or sports radio stations!) or just hearing the sounds going on around me. Improving my pace is still always goal, but not something I obsess about. When you’re running, the only person you’re trying beat is yourself, and the time you’re trying to improve upon is your own.
But one of the best things about running is it’s something you can do by yourself! There’s not much I can do by myself in a house with two young children and my husband. With running, however, I can make time to go for a half-hour to 45-minute run after the evening clean-up and bedtime routines are finished. It’s blissful alone time that I anticipate long before the moment I gear up to go outside.
Training for a 5K was also not as terrifying as I thought it would be. I read countless articles and perused numerous websites to figure out what type of training I should – and could! – do, what brand of shoes would be best for my feet and the most appropriate apparel to wear. All I needed was an open mind and a positive attitude.
Oh, and yes, those comfortable, first pair of running shoes were also extremely important as well! The Running Room is an amazing place to ask those “newbie” running questions and they provide a personalized shoe-fitting session where they take the time to check your gait and suggest the shoes that are best suited to support your feet and meet your training needs. I love my Brooks Glycerin 11s; true to their description, I feel like I’m running on a cloud.
Now if someone had compared the act of running to “cloud-hopping” prior to June I honestly don’t know how I would have responded. Most likely, I would have scowled. How could those two things possibly go together?
The Rattle Me Bones race was an amazing experience for my very first 5K run. Not only did my family and friends support me in my endeavor, they also helped me fundraise over $450 for Bone Cancer Research. I also exceeded my expectations; I ran 5K continuously while being chased by zombies! The Ottawa Hospital’s first 5K Zombie race certainly lived up to its name. It was a challenging off-road course teeming with zombies – some walking, some sprinting – that wanted to snatch our flags.
It was a very memorable morning. The cherry on top was that I finally had the chance to run with my husband, Dennis. Dennis and I very rarely have a chance to run together because we stagger our running times. As much as we’d like to take off together for a quick 30-minute run after the kids are asleep, running together is just not something we can do very often until they’re older.
I’m on month five of my running journey and if I had the foresight to keep a journal, I’m pretty sure the first dozen entries would have focussed on the negatives. I vaguely remember pain… everywhere! But for the most part it was localized to my thighs. I also remember how hard it was to run continuously for that first 2K. The distance hurdle was difficult to overcome as it does take time to build up that stamina and endurance. Thank goodness for indoor exercise equipment to help with the cardio those first few months!
I think one of the most enjoyable things to have come out of my new-found love of running is that my children notice a difference in their Mom. I’m less tired and irritable and I have more energy than I did back in the spring. I’m motivated to try to new things and that motivation translates into my children wanting to try new things. Ryan has already asked if he can start running with me when he’s a bit older. I think that would be pretty awesome.
I may have picked up the running ‘bug’ later in life, but better late than never! I hope it’s something I can keep doing for many more years to come.