So, not too long ago (September 2011) I got this crazy idea to start doing the Couch 2 5K program. I don’t know what made me want to do it as I had never run more than a mile in my life and “run” would be a far stretch at that before.
I talked to my dear sister one evening in late September/early October that year and she asked what 5K I was training for. At that time, I had no idea. I didn’t have anything planned. She convinced me to run the Turkey Trot with her on Thanksgiving of that year (along with about 15,000 other people) in Minnesota. So, there it was, a reason to keep training. (Now, you have to understand, my sister is a RUNNER! No stretching the imagination on that one. She is an incredible runner.)
Going into that 5K, I told her I had no time goal. My only goal was to not walk at all during the race. She pushed me, ran ahead of me to take pictures, convinced her husband and my mom to bring her boys down to see us finish and have the boys run their own race and encouraged me and convinced me I could do it. In reality, it’s only 3.1 miles, right? Well, dang it, I finished that race!
I went back to Kansas after the holiday at home and ran another 5K a couple weeks later. That one was a miserable mess! I ran alone as the two friends that were supposed to do it with me bailed the day of and it was raining/snowing so I ran through slush the whole way. It was cold, terrible and ugly but dang it, I finished that race!
At that point in time, I still wouldn’t have called myself a runner. I was 27 and had officially run two races and there wasn’t anything glorious about either of them. I’d been told I’d fall in love with running and that I would get addicted but that just wasn’t the case for me.
I kept running random 5Ks so that I didn’t look like a quitter but truly didn’t enjoy them. I did a few obstacle course races and also didn’t enjoy those. I decided in May of 2013 it was time to start looking at moving back to Minnesota. Before I had a job lined up, I registered for a couple of Minnesota races in faith that I would be back in Minnesota for them.
I got here in June of 2013. I ran the Women Rock MN 10K in August of 2013 and while running, felt compelled to set a goal and make a dream come true. I still wouldn’t have called myself a runner at that time but I knew that I could run through those feelings. I had completed 13 races to date at that point in time. I was 29 years old. My dream became to complete 30 races before I turned 30.
I knew that 16 races in one year was a rather large dream/goal and one that would take a lot of dedication and motivation. I knew I would need support so I shared that dream with anyone who would listen. I knew that the fear of disappointing others would be a good motivator for me as well.
I started the year with an injury but pushed through. I hit July of this year and was at only 29 races. I was scheduled to run one mid-July and ended up sick and not able to participate. I was watching my dream slip away.
On August 2, with just 11 days to spare, I completed race #30. I cried as I crossed this finish line. (Thankfully it was dark so no one saw the tears.) For the first time in my life, I had a dream and I made it happen.
As I finished #30 I questioned if I would call myself a runner? The answer to that is a big fat NO! I don’t enjoy it. I’m not addicted to it. It hurts. I want to quit every time. But I do it.
I’ve run 4 races since then and still don’t enjoy them. The finish line doesn’t draw me in as it does some others. I have no desire to ever do anything more than a 10K ever again in my life!
But today, as I hobbled across the finish line of the TC 10 Mile, after doing the TC 10K yesterday, immediately followed by the TC 5K, (they call doing all 3 in 27 hours “The Loony Challenge” and I totally agree that the name fits), I couldn’t help but be in awe of what God has allowed. I watched individuals complete the marathon in wheelchairs. I CAN USE MY LEGS! I know of people who could never dream of going out there and even trying to complete 19.3 miles in a day. I FINISHED! I know of people who don’t have the hope in God to sustain them and push them forward.
As I cried from pain today, I had to remember too that the pain in nothing compared to what others may experience. Do I plan to run any more races anytime soon? Well, after the 5K next Sunday, I have nothing scheduled and I’m okay with that. I think I need to take some time off and figure out why I’m doing this and if I want to keep doing this or if maybe it’s time to move my focus elsewhere.
Tonight, as I hobble to bed and sleep, I am thankful that God gave me the strength and ability to do what I’ve done. I also thank Him that I was able to cross the finish lines this weekend. I also ask that He direct me with where to go next.