If you’d told me this time last week that I’d run a 5k, I’d probably say something like, “yeah and my grandma can bench press a sumo wrestler.”
I am not a runner.
In fact, I suffer from a condition called cardio-phobia.
Prior to this weekend, I thought I couldn’t even run a mile. I mean, I’m in shape; I do a lot of weightlifting, LOVE walking, and maybe do one or two HIIT bike sessions a week, but besides that, I avoid running like a toddler avoids beets.
So back to the title…is this anti-runner changing her ways? Why is she even mentioning such a thing as a 5k?!
Allow me to explain.
My dad came down to visit me at college this past weekend and had signed us up for a fundraiser/benefit event called AIM for the Coast. They had different bike races as well as a 2k fun walk and a 5k run. We initially signed up for the 2k fun walk because of my cardio-loathing character.
It was a little chilly that morning and very windy, but once the sun popped over the horizon, it felt like a million bucks. The sunrise and beach views weren’t too shabby either. 😉
After my dad was randomly chosen for a TV interview (he got on the air!!!), we headed over to the starting line for both the 5k and the 2k. The event organizers instructed walkers to be toward the back of the pack and runners to start at the front.
We both felt kinda cold, so we figured, “Hey let’s jog a little bit so we can get warm!” Even I was game for that! So we started in the middle of the pack.
Well, turns out my competitive nature got the best of me. Just seeing runners ahead of me was all it took to stay jogging.
My dad kept saying, “We can stop whenever you want and walk,” but his words almost egged me on more.
I wanted to keep running.
We blew past the 2k finish line and kept going.
And going, and going and going.
Passing people, having an awesome dad by my side, and realizing I was in reach of saying, “I ran 3.125 miles” throttled me on.
Never in my life had I experienced finding my “pace” while running. It was MAGICAL! I felt like I could go on for eternity. Honestly, I was in utter shock that I wasn’t sweating or desperately clutching for oxygen. I wanted to keep going even past the 5k finish line.
Crossing the line, I high fived my dad and was flabbergasted that I wasn’t doubled over dying in need of a lung transplant. My legs felt good, my heart wasn’t pounding out of my chest, and to be honest, I was in disbelief in what I’d just done!
One of the organzers approached us and said, “your bibs indicated you were signed up for the 2k, but since you ran the 5k, we can put your times amidst the other 5k runners and see if you won your age division.”
I was in serious doubt of anything like that, but when I heard my name called during the awards as 2nd in my age division, I almost went into a coma. On top of that, my dad placed first in his age group!
It was at that moment that I realized my body could do far more than my mind’s limit. The mental walls I’d fabricated with running began to crumble. It made me realize that a 10k or a half marathon wasn’t completely “out of reach” as I had previously deemed. So I thought to myself, imagine, if I could break down those inhibitions for other aspects of life, I’d be unstoppable! Empowering would be the understatement of the year.
Basically this race taught me two things:
- I like to run with my hands in a thumbs up position (so weird, I literally couldn’t stop them from being that way haha)
- I need to start giving myself more credit and appreciate the little victories in life
This race was more than just any other 5k. It was a learning experience. Although my time wasn’t a crazy PR, it became my baseline. Something to improve on, something to remember, but most importantly, something to appreciate.
So, while you’ll never see me on the cover of Runner’s World or hitting the pavement for fun, I’ll definitely be doing another 5k, competing to “out-do” my mental limits, and embrace my slight decrease in cardio-phobia. 🙂