I ran my first ever 5-miler race this past weekend and I think I still have that “runner’s high” everyone keeps telling me about. I’m ready to go do another one! But I didn’t always feel this way. Let me give you a little background on my running history.
Yeah, that about sums it up. I don’t run. I’ve never considered myself a runner. My dad went to college on a track scholarship, so I thought I must have it in me somewhere. I was not an athlete growing up. I danced and cheered, but I didn’t play any sports. Wait, I take that back…I played softball in 9th grade and I joke with people that I played left bench. I was horrible. And when I wasn’t on the bench, I was WAY out in the outfield. (Carolyn, if you’re reading this, Red Hot outfield sistas for life!). So I wasn’t a girly-girl, but I was FAR from any sort of athletic tomboy.
I really learned about exercising when I met my husband. He was a total meathead when we first met. He loved going to the gym and schooling me on everything about weight-training. So I worked out here and there. I never put a lot of effort in it. The minute something would get difficult to lift, I’d stop. I continued to dance into my 20s and even spent 3 years dancing as a Washington Redskins cheerleader, which helped keep me in shape, but I still didn’t do much extra when it came to fitness. Then my life changed. I had two kids, I went through a major health scare with breast cancer, and I finally crossed over into the mid-30s. I can no longer eat whatever I want and I can’t maintain my figure as easily as I could in my 20s.
So after my chemo treatment was over and I was given a clean bill of health, I started working out…this time for real. It definitely helped that my kids were older and were in school or old enough to be put in the gym day care. So, I lift weights at least 3 times a week, do my 20-30 minutes of cardio most days, and/or take a dance class or BodyPump. And last year I started dabbling in this whole running thing. I needed something to change up my workout, and running seemed like a great form of exercise for many reasons. It’s a great stress reliever/escape, it can be done pretty much anywhere and it’s cheap!
But my training was spotty. Last year I ran my first 5K and then was crazy enough to run a twilight 4-miler on a 90+ degree June evening. Both races I had to stop and walk. I couldn’t even run the whole 3.1 miles for the 5K! And the 4-miler kicked my butt because I didn’t train properly and it was HOT! I was pretty discouraged to say the least. So I went into this 5-miler this weekend with hardly any confidence that I would be able to run the whole thing. Everyone around me had so much faith in me, but I just wasn’t sure.
To gear up for this race and the future ½ marathon Deena and I will be running in June, I have been following the Hal Higdon ½ marathon novice training schedule. So I definitely went into this race with a lot more training and a lot more miles under my belt. And it helped that I was running with a group of friends who helped encourage me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My goal for myself was to make it to the end without walking. And I did!!! When I crossed that finish line after running the WHOLE time, I finally felt that runner’s high everyone has told me about. I was so proud and excited for myself. It did wonders for my confidence. And now I know I can do this ½ marathon. It won’t be easy, but I finally have the confidence to push myself further and further each week until I can run 13 miles.