About a month ago I wrote about running my first 5K, something I never expected to do. It was quite an experience for me, and I wanted to share some of the things I learned.
1. Being healthy is awesome. This is actually something I’ve been learning over the last several months as I’ve been losing weight, but the eight weeks I spent training for the race I felt it more intensely. While eating healthy and exercising regularly are a serious commitment, the payoff is totally worth it. I look and feel better than I have in years, and I have a better outlook on the future when I’m not stuck in a hole of unhealthy living.
2. Set reasonable goals. If I had decided to set out on day one and run 3.1 miles, I most likely would have
died given up part way through and never tried again. Similarly, if I’d spent every workout during my eight weeks just jogging around the block once, I’d never have been able to run the race when the day came. The Couch to 5K program was great for helping me to work up from a lighter workout to a full 5K run. Training was certainly no picnic, and I had to push really hard to make it through each run, but the goals were never out of reach.
3. Everyone needs a cheerleader. Running a 5K is something I never would’ve done on my own. Aaron and a group of our friends set the goal for themselves, and my only plan was to give the program a try in an effort to be more active. Having Aaron as a training partner was really key to my being able to keep going, not just with the program itself, but literally in every workout and sometimes every step. “Just 30 more seconds” or “Look how far you’ve come already.” Our group of friends checked in on each other throughout training and got the opportunity to cheer each other on on race day. It’s so amazing to have people you love rooting for you at the starting line and celebrating as you cross the finish. And I was surprised to find that there were people all along the course we didn’t know who cheer for everyone who passes by. Now that’s cool. I plan to be one of those people at some point.
4. I hate running. Wait, what? You’d probably expect that someone who trains for and runs a distance race would either like running to begin with or learn to like it somewhere along the way. Nope, not me. There were certain aspects about running that I did enjoy, like being physically active and spending time outside, but running itself will never be an ongoing hobby for me. Even on race day I told my comrades that I wouldn’t be continuing to run like they would. (They’re all talking about a 10K now.) I do, however, plan to continue being physically active and spending time outside doing things I actually enjoy, like playing tennis. Oh, how excited I am to get back on the tennis court!
5. I can do anything (with help). The most important thing I learned is that I can accomplish things that seem impossible. I seriously would’ve laughed in your face at the thought of me running 3.1 miles, but here I am on the other side and laughing instead at the old version of me. I certainly didn’t do it alone, though. As I mentioned before, my husband and friends played a huge role in my success. More importantly, though, I believe that God gave me the strength to keep going. If you’ve never pushed yourself to the brink before… it’s a very spiritual experience. There were workouts where I wanted to cry or quit or both, and I was seriously like, God, the only way I’m going to get through this is with your help. In those moments I was reminded of truths like “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” and “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” And that is ultimately what carried this little blob of a non-runner through miles and miles of training and eventually across the finish line.
We did it! Hanging out at the finish line.