Monday, August 12, 2013

Bucket List: Minus One

So this weekend I crossed a huge item off my bucket list: I ran a 5K.

As in, I actually paid people to run. No mass murderer chasing me. No children running into the street.

I ran on purpose, ya'll. Newsworthy.

Had you asked me this time last year if I would be running a 5K I would have laughed so hard coffee might have come out my nose. This May, I started a Couch to 5K training program with no intentions of ever running a 5K. My goal was just to be healthier and feel better. But when you start that kind of training program people assume that you'll someday run a 5K.  And it turns out, you start thinking about it too.

I started training and called my dear friend, Gretchen. "So, I have this crazy idea and wondered if you wanted to do it with me..." She's crazier than I am and hopped on board.  And then we began scheming that maybe, just maybe, we would run a 5K someday together.

A few weeks ago we registered online at her kitchen table with our kids running around in the distance and laughing at how crazy this was. Because of schedules and wisdom, we decided to do a smaller race with only a few hundred people that was CHIP timed but family-friendly (and beginning-runner-who-doesn't-know-what-she's-doing-friendly). I tweeted this:

I just registered for my first 5K. In related news, I saw pigs flying.

Last week, Gretchen and I decided to do a practice on run the course. And that week, two tragic things happened. One: unbeknownst to be, Gretchen was now running so fast we need to find out when the Olympic trials are for her. For real. Two: the course included HILLS. Lots of them.
What I thought would be good and encouraging preparation last week turned into discouragement bordering on despair. But the thing about tweeting your intentions; you are now accountable to the interwebs come what may. And I was not going to give up. I might be walking those hills watching Gretchen streak by me but I wasn't giving up.

But Gretchen is such an amazing friend and decided to run it with me (knowing I would slow her down). And when we went to pick up our packets the day before we found out we had trained the course backwards (so there were still hills but significantly better). We arrived on race morning ready, with our families cheering us on.

I have to admit I was a little intimidated. I'd never even been to a race before, much less participated in one. When the horn went off and we started running with the masses there was excitement and adrenaline. But this promptly wore off at about the 2 mile marker and I was out of steam. 

At the 2.9 mile mark, there were 85 year olds that passed me and I was seeing people who had already run the race running home. I wanted to punch them all in the face. (Note: After checking my GPS, it was actually mile marker 3.1 so I also wanted to punch race officials in the face for the lie that I was running a 5K that was really 3.3 miles...)

But then Gretchen and I turned a corner and I could see the finish line. There were people lining the course with cow bells and I saw our kids holding signs and cheering. Jamy had a proud look on his face.  We turned to each other, smiled, and sprinted the rest of the way in.

We crossed the finish line together. With tears in my eyes I hugged my friend who ran with me.

Isabelle and Jackson greeted me with a "medal." Homemade out of a kitchen sponge, it's my first race medal and I'm crazy proud of it. We celebrated that morning, the two families with a huge breakfast. And when our official times were posted, I was amazed. We ran 10 minutes faster than we had trained. 

I'm still far from calling myself a runner. And I still hate running. But I hate it less and love how I feel more. I'm down 10 pounds from when I started this journey and have a huge sense of accomplishment doing something I never thought possible.

And I'm paying people next month to run again...


  1. Um.... So I'm running a 5K in October. Paying people to do it. Hating it. Doing it anyway. You are amazing. Love.

    1. Yesss. I feel your pain! Which one? (you are amazing, i love you, let's do coffee...)


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