Six months ago, if you told me I was going to be able to run a 5k, I would have laughed at you.
I would have told you that you were crazy, and then I would have slunk off feeling badly about myself because there was no way I could run 1k, let alone 5 whole k's.
(Now, before I go any further, allow me to state that I know a 5k isn't much, in the grand scheme of running. I know there are many of you who run that far regularly, or maybe even who ran a half or full marathon this weekend. I'd like to say that you rock. I truly hope to be like you someday.)
My friend Alise made me a training schedule, which I began in August, so that I would be ready and able to run the entire 5k. I didn't think I would be able to do it. I was the kid in P.E. who purposely showed up late to class so that there would at least be an excuse for why I was the very last one back from running. I was the kid in P.E. who made friends with other kids only because I thought maybe they'd be slower runners than me. I was the kid on the soccer team who had to be bribed with Mexican food to run the length of the field. I was the kid who thought, constantly as I ran, "I can't do this. I hate this. I can't do this."
I've had a lifetime aversion to running, until recently, when I decided that it was something that I maybe could do. Most of that positivity came from Alise, who went with me for my first run at Red Rocks on one of the last days before school started. A lot of it also came from my friend Marnie, who just completed her first triathalon sprint. Not much of it came from me. But, somewhere during the last two months, I started to enjoy myself.
The going was slow. Alise started me off with one mile. It was hard. I added a little more distance on each week, until yesterday, when I ran the full 3.1 miles. I was really nervous going into it. I told myself that I'd be okay, just so long as I didn't come in last, and I didn't fall. Well, I didn't come in last and I didn't fall. I didn't come in first, or second, or tenth, or probably even twentieth, but I'm okay with that.
I'm just so proud of myself. I know this isn't the PC thing to say - it's not super polite to talk about your pride in yourself, but I don't care. Because I am super, ridiculously proud of what I accomplished yesterday. I didn't think I'd be able to do it. But I did. And I had a really great time.
As I ran, there was one song in particular that got into my head and stayed there. It came onto my shuffle just as I was approaching the 2nd mile marker and I knew, without a doubt, that I was going to be able to do it. It's an older song, from Jo Dee Messina called "These Are The Days". She sings:
"These are the days you will remember, for the rest of your life.
These are the memories you'll pack in a box, and you'll pull out sometimes.
So pick the flowers, count the seconds, roll the dice, but baby don't wait, until it's too late, to put a smile on your face.
These are the days."
As I ran, I knew that the race would be a moment in my life that I would remember forever - one that I'll pull out the next time I feel down, or feel like I can't do something.
This race also reminded me that we don't have to be who we've always been. I don't have to be the girl who hates running, or the girl who can't stand broccoli. Things change. People change.
I asked Alise to write me a new training plan so that I can be ready to run a 10k in May.
I'm nervous about it, but I'm embracing it.
I need as many memories to pack into my box as I can get.