I have no memories before the age of 29 of enjoying running. I played softball, but, well, there is not a lot of sustained running in that sport, and I definitely have memories of not being very fast at all running between bases. I tried playing basketball in junior high. That was a lot of running! I was not good at basketball at all. I was 13-14 years old at that time and after that season was over, I pretty much never ran even a quarter of a mile for the next 15 years.
About a year and a half after I resolved to improve my health, I hit a wall. A wall that life built out of brick very quickly during 2011. I came flying face first into the wall at the end of 2011 and all of the stress and emotional despair from the wall knocked the air from my lungs. As 2012 approached, I knew that I needed something to deal with this brick wall of emotion. During the last week of December, I mentally committed to “becoming a runner”.
I went out and purchased some brand new running shoes. I’m talking “running specialty store” type running shoes. An employee watched me walk in my old shoes and barefooted and then brought out an assortment of shoes for me to try on. I selected the “least noticeable when you run” pair and made my purchase. Those shoes were expensive! And the price was going to help keep me accountable. At least that’s how I reasoned it.
My next step was to commit to a running event to give myself a concrete timeline and goal. I chose a huge event here in Texas called the Rodeo Run 5k. I downloaded a “Couch to 5k” app called “Get Running” from the app store and started my training. The pleasant British voice coaching me and cheering me on as I made my way through the workouts became a welcomed experience after the stress of the work day, and sometimes at the crack of dawn before work. I made my way through the workouts and was able to “run” for a sustained 30 minutes (My 5k time was actually longer than 30 min since my speed was not the best) and felt ready for my event!
If you have ever had the feeling, even just a little, of “Maybe I want to run a 5k!”, I highly recommend that you act on it. When I arrived at the event with my race bib pinned to my shirt I was in awe of all around me. There were so many runners there. All types of runners. All sizes of runners. Runners with various levels of running experience. As the race started, the first few blocks of the course ran through streets that were lined with people who were waiting for a rodeo parade. They cheered the runners on, oh what a rush of happiness that was! Since I had stuck with my training I was able to run the complete 5k without any stops, thus reaching the goal I had set for myself. Running through the finish line for the first time was a thrill to say the least.
Making my way through the vendor booths after the rodeo run, I just knew this would not be my last event and that I was hooked! I continued to run regularly as a coping strategy (so much better than indulging in food!) and set myself up with a race to run every couple of months. I went on to run many 5k and 10k races, I have run 5 half marathons (13.1 miles) and 1 full (26.2) marathon. It’s safe to say that I’m a lifer! Running isn’t for everyone and it’s okay if you have no desire to ever try. But if you have any inkling of an interest in “becoming a runner” but possibly you are filled with doubt or worry that you won’t be “fast” , just find the right training program for you and hit the pavement. You will not regret it.
I am a runner and fitness fanatic who is dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time. I live in Texas and divide my time between raising 3 children, teaching, and living a fit life.