Saturday November 16, 2013 was a big day for me. It was my first time: my first ever 5k race.
The experience was significant for me. <– No, that’s a gross understatement. Running that 5k had a profound impact on my psyche.
The truth is, for my whole life I believed I couldn’t run. I actually believed I was physically incapable of running.
I wasn’t good at running in elementary school. And I certainly didn’t get any better with age. When 11th grade rolled around and I was no longer required to take a gym class, I smiled, knowing no one could ever force me to run again.
The funny thing about that last sentence is that I often used to joke that if I found myself being chased by a bad guy, I would literally just turn around to face him, throw my hands up in defeat, and proclaim, “Here – take whatever you want. Who are we kidding? I can’t outrun you.”
So, quite truly, no one could ever force me to run again — not even a knife-wielding villain.
I began running, on a treadmill, early in My Year of Sweat journey last year. Mostly I focused on interval type workout, like the ones here, which meant I spent as much time walking as I did running. It was a great way to burn fat and boost my metabolism with high-intensity intervals, but it didn’t make me feel like a ‘real runner’.
Eventually I trained to run longer. I ran for 5 consecutive minutes, then 10, then 20, and finally 30 minutes straight.
I wasn’t fast, but I proved to myself that I could run for half hour, with no walk breaks, and that made me feel like a real runner.
I moved away from running after I achieved that milestone.
Still, something inside me longed to prove I could in front of others, in a group run format. I ran 30 minutes straight, but I did it alone, on a treadmill. There were no witnesses. There was no fanfare.
When I completed that 5k race in November I was able to tick off all the little boxes in my own mind, finally legitimizing my accomplishment. I ran a 5k, among a throng of other runners, and achieving a personal best at the same time.
Once again I moved away from running after chalking up another milestone.
3 months later though, and for reasons unknown to me, I decided I would start again. I think part of it was to give myself a quick and easy workout during some upcoming weeks of business travel. The beauty of running is that you can do it anywhere. All you need is a pair of running shoes.
I ran a few [and by few, I mean exactly two] times in late February, before leaving Las Vegas. And then I made the decision to download a Train-for-a-10k app on my phone. This little tool would give me both a schedule and a plan.
So I guess I decided to run a 10k.
Yet, even as I told people that I was using a Train-for-a-10k app, when the inevitable follow-up question would arrive, “Oh cool, when is your 10k race Nancy?”, my response was, “Oh, I’m not actually doing a 10k race. I’m just training for one.”
I have now done about a million runs [and by a million, I mean 8], 5 of which have been outdoors. One of which was in NYC.
Do you all remember how I used to complain about cold-induced asthma? That’s the nasty respiratory disorder that rears its ugly head when those afflicted exercise or exert themselves outdoors in cold temperatures. In the past, when I’ve attempted even very short runs in temps below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, I have wound up with a nasty lingering cough for hours (and sometimes days) later.
It is March. I am in Toronto. My runs have been in temps ranging from 33 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Each one has sucked giant sweaty camel balls, I’m not gonna lie.
But… guess what?
There has been zero coughing [and by zero, I mean ZERO] during or after any of these runs.
So today I am declaring my intent to run a 10k race, dear readers.
I will be slow. Painfully slow. But I will complete it.
My current plan is to run in the Moms Rock 10k in Las Vegas on Saturday May 10th. This, of course, assumes I’ll be in Vegas on May 10th, and I have yet to book that trip.
If I don’t make it to back to Vegas in time for that race, I am committed to finding one in southwestern Ontario, which I will complete before the end of May.
There. I’ve done it.
Nancy is running a 10k race, friends. Who would have thought?
“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” ~John Bingham