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Up until January of this year, I never ran. Ever. Zumba, yoga, weight lifting, walking…those were my exercises of choice. I did not WANT to run, but more importantly, I did not THINK I could run. It sounded scary: I’d hurt myself, look stupid, or just plain fail. In elementary school when we were forced to run “the mile,” I’d always finish last, huffing and puffing and bright red in the face.
But something got me onto a treadmill in January (a machine I previously loathed). I tried it out – admittedly there was more walking than running at first. I still didn’t enjoy it, but also didn’t quit. I had no idea what I was doing – I knew nothing of form, appropriate pace or use of inclines. I slowly increased my distance, while also trying to increase speed.
There was finally a day nice enough to run outside, which was a totally different experience than being in the gym. By this point, I began not only enjoying the sport, but also looking forward to the day’s run. I’d diligently check the weather forecast, and realized I was bummed whenever conditions were not nice enough for an outdoor run, forcing me back to the gym.
Then I signed up for a 5k. The Summerfest Big Gig 5k. By now, I had become accustomed to running outside and taking different routes. I learned it’s best to mix it up when training, or your body becomes complacent.
The experience was something brand new to me! It was cold and rainy for a June morning…not ideal and certainly nothing I had chosen to run in before. I didn’t know exactly where the start line was and quickly became nervous as the race start neared. Well, with 7000 people running a total of three races in this event, there’s no way I could be alone. I took my place at the starting corral, waited for the signal to begin, and was off!
The run was a hard one for me. The route was rather flat, but with all the newness of this experience, I felt figuratively lost. I didn’t have my best time. I didn’t run for the entire distance. I didn’t have a smile pasted to my face for the whole 3.1 miles. But I did enjoy it: the challenge of something new, the obstacle of crappy weather, and being surrounded by complete strangers all looking to achieve the same end. I did the best I could and was damn proud when I crossed the finish line.
I want to now train for a half marathon at the PNC Milwaukee Running Festival on November 1st, sprinkled with another 5k and 10k in between. This is a challenge I want to conquer, so here’s to more running!
You can read more on Christina’s blog, Eat, Drink, Be Healthy! here.