I realized recently why there is such a draw to running for people of all shapes and sizes. I participated in a 5K race as part of a volunteer “running buddy” for an organization called “Girls on the Run.” This organization goes into schools and promotes physical activity, self esteem and a love for running to young girls. As I crossed the finish line with my new 9 year old buddy, Liz, we were being cheered for by hundreds of people. I thought to myself, “how cool is this?! We just ran a 5K in 45 minutes and people are still cheering for us?!” That’s awesome. It made me think about all the races I’ve ever done. By no means am I the fastest runner, winning any races. However, every time I have ever finished a race (no matter the distance or the time), people cheer! For me! And I thought, for most of us, we stopped getting cheered for after about high school, unless maybe we were a college athlete. But for the rest of us regular people, when in your adult life does anyone cheer, scream and go crazy for you? Rarely, if ever. So I thought, “What a cool sport running is.” It makes me feel special and famous, if even just for a brief moment as I cross the finish line. So, to you fans out there: you know who you are. The ones who bring your cow bells and pom poms out to our races, thank you for making me feel famous.
Two and a half years ago I started a journey. Honestly didn’t know where it would lead. I didn’t have a map, no gps, no mapquest. My direction came from our group lead. Little did I know that this couch to 5k program would change my life.
When you start running..everything is new. It’s hard to breathe, much less talk to someone while running. Our coaches and mentors always tried to get me to talk….who were they kidding? I couldn’t talk AND run! Haha
Plagued by the dreaded shin splints I was side lined at a crucial time in our program. I came back after three weeks out feeling even lonelier and discouraged than whe I was running in pain. But I had a coach who stuck with me…..who wouldn’t give up on me….who didn’t let me quit.
I crossed that first 5k finish line……a spark had been lit…..where woukd the next journey take me? I couldn’t wait to find out.