Well, people: I DID IT!
I was inspired by this lovely lady, my friend Liz
, pictured below with her sister Kristin. Liz inspired many people with her decision to use the “Couch to 5K” training plan.
Just look at her on race day. Big smile and excited. I’m honored to be her friend. We’ve known each other nearly 10 years, and I’m a better person because of her.
Take this 5k for example.
I had a lot of excuses.
But I told myself to shut the ^#%$ up.
I ran outside. And I bought a used treadmill for the times I couldn’t.
I bought some shoes. And an iPod. And hot workout clothes.
I always find spending hard-earned money on gear motivates me.
I was going to run my first race in June, but was slammed with horrific shin splints.
But you people wouldn’t let me just stop.
I couldn’t let me stop either.
So after the pain went away, I picked back up again and refocused.
Friends cheered me on during my training — and at the race. Friends, like Kay
And of course, Liz
. And our friend Beth
. There are more I’ll introduce you to below.
If you’ve been around here awhile, you’ve heard me talk about Matt and his daughter Maddy. Their story is heartbreaking. And empowering. And, well, amazing. The Liz Logelin Foundation
was developed in memory of Liz, Matt’s wife and Maddy’s Mom, to help grieving families in the same situation.
And so it was apropos that my first 5k be the walk*run*hope 5k
by the Liz Logelin Foundation. And of course, lots of others thought it was a good idea, too.
Here’s the starting line. You can just barely see me way over on the right, in the hot pink shirt, facing the back, chatting with friends.
Don’t let me fool you, people. I was nervous. 3.1 miles is a BIG stretch for me.
Even though I’ve been running all summer, I haven’t been able to increase my distance that far. Or the times I have, it’s been a combination of walking and running. About a month ago I ran a practice 5k at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis – pushing myself– and came in at 40 minutes. It kicked my ass. I wondered if I could shave any time off of that.
The race started and the fast runners breezed past. And then it was quiet. …really, really quiet on the course. I don’t do so well with quiet. When I’m running, I need music. I listened to my iPod and kept trying to push myself. When I passed the first mile marker, I checked my clock. It read 11 minutes. That’s amazing, I thought! (I typically average 14-16 minute miles in training)
Only another 1/2 mile until I’d get to the turn around point where I saw these lovely, smiling faces. The best volunteers ever, Laura
. They started cheering for me. There were high fives and hoots and hollers.
They took this picture. If you look closely, you’ll see I was smiling. Friends like these are awesome.
The second half of the race was tougher mentally than it was physically.
My goal was to finish and run as much of the course as I could. But I did walk parts of it. Just long enough to get my energy back and take off running again.
But the problem was I was thinking too much. There were a couple of times my eyes filled with tears.
I thought back to my life one year ago. I was 30 pounds heavier.
And so very unhappy.
If the one-year-ago-me could look ahead a year to the today-me, her head would spin around and she would say “YOU DID WHAT?”
And I would tell her:
I started working out.
I accepted Liz’s crazy couch to 5k challenge.
I found a therapist to make sure I wasn’t crazy. (She says I’m not, really.)
I created a new sense of peace and stability for my household.
I found a new church. I stretched myself as a parent. …and slept a lot less.
I miraculously began eating fish and sushi (which I’m now obscenely obsessed with).
I resurrected friendships with people I adore.
I learned how to start a damn lawn mower (it was brutal).
and cook meat on a grill.
I continued to grow my career.
I continued to grow my blog.
Oh yeah, and I’m running a 5k.
This is what I was thinking during the last mile. This conversation with myself was emotional enough.
As I rounded the corner near the finish line and saw the crowd – they suddenly erupted into cheers. For me. I heard my name. And I knew there were friends in there cheering for me. I wanted to look for faces, but knew I needed to focus straight ahead to make sure I didn’t trip. Strangely, it reminded me of my wedding day when I was walking down the aisle. (Not that people were cheering then… but I felt the need to look straight ahead while everyone stared at me)
I saw the clock up ahead and it was getting ready to flip over to 38 minutes, so I started running faster. The closer I got to the finish line, the faster I ran. My final time was 38:03. A very respectable time for my first 5k.
Here I am at the end of the chute, where a volunteer pulled the bar code off my number. But ya know what makes this photo so awesome? Look at the faces of my friends Kay
. Seriously, that melts me. (and no, there was not a cute dog or baby behind me…. )
I wish I could end this here – with a nice wrap up of how victorious I felt and happy about my accomplishment. But the truth is that I crashed. I was having a hard time winding my body down – so I kept walking a bit. Some people tried to talk to me, but I couldn’t really talk. I was out of breath and frankly, pretty wrecked.
And I remember looking around for someone. You know, that someone — the most important person in your life who you want to be there to support you at key moments? To fall into their arms and cry and hear them whisper “You did it” in your ear.
Yeah, I didn’t have that. And I felt sad. And lonely. In the midst of accomplishing a big goal, I had no one to share it with. Or at least that’s how it felt. And then I remembered that I’m on my own again, by choice, and this is part of the deal. But there’s still a hole there. A sense of loss.
And truly, I was so far from being alone, because I had more friends at this event than I could count.
– two amazing women with hearts of gold.
And of course, Liz, who met her personal goal of finishing the 5k in under an hour. Look at her smile! Congratulations, Liz, I’m so impressed with your determination! …and so grateful for your friendship.
Many thanks to the Liz Logelin Foundation board and volunteers for their work on the event. And to all my friends who took photos and let me use them here – especially Nancy
And to all of you. Who continue to cheer me on. And read these words I put out into the world. Thank you.