I am so proud of my husband today because he completed his first 5k race today. If you knew my husband, you would know this is a big deal because he frequently reminds me how much he hates running. Since it’s something I love so much, I always want to get him into it but have so far been mostly unsuccessful. A few weeks ago he surprised me when he told me that he would be running a 5k during a work day as part of their corporate wellness program. He has been working hard at the gym to improve his overall fitness for about the last year but sticks mostly to the elliptical and weights and stays far away from the treadmill.
Let’s give this a try…
I was excited for him and suggested that, at some point before his 5k, we should go for a run together not so much as a “training run” but more as a confidence builder. On the Saturday before last, I wanted to a rest day and he wanted to get in a work out so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get in a run together. We agreed on a plan – we would run 5k without regard for how long it took to get him to that milestone. That way, he could go into his race knowing for certain that finishing would not be an issue.
I know the neighborhood well so I mapped out a route in my mind and we were off. I decided to keep us on a series of boardwalks that weave throughout the woods as this is a tranquil setting and one that shields us from the sun. At first, he definitely did not look at ease as he ran. I reassured him that it would start to feel more natural as he ran more and we forged ahead.
He did a great job and ran the whole first mile without needing to walk. This is definitely a big feat for someone who does not run. This was his initial goal and I was so happy to see him achieve it. We kept running but walked at intervals when he wanted to. I tried to equip him with some of the strategies I use to push myself during a run like picking goal points to get you to run further without slowing or walking.
He had a lot of little triumphs throughout the run. I decided to take us a slightly longer route than we originally found so we could swing by a water fountain so he could grab a drink. When all was said and done, we arrived back at our house with 4.25 miles in the books! It was a healthy challenge and I think he felt pretty accomplished in the end. I think that’s the perfect pre-race preparation.
Race Day Arrives
Charles headed off to work today with a 5k on the agenda. I was so excited to receive this photo by text just before lunch:
He came in 19th place overall with a time of 37:17! He said the race went great and he ran the first 1.5 miles without walking at all and walked only a very small amount of the entire race. I am so proud of my husband for taking on a challenge, doing something difficult, and carrying himself past the threshold of what he thought was possible. This is one of the things I love most about running – each day, you are a little strong, a little faster, or have a little more stamina than the day before. You do things you never thought were possible and that’s a pretty special thing.
A Brief Synopsis of How I Got My Start
Just like Charles and like many other people, I was not always a runner. Not nearly. Although I have always been athletic and played sports almost year round through the end of high school, running was really something to get through during a sports practice. During college, I started hitting the gym on a regular basis but only occasionally ran on the treadmill. My college actually required two gym electives so I even took a “Running” course and got into running for a little bit but that didn’t last too long. Since then, I would get into brief stints of running a few times a week but nothing ever lasted until January of 2010.
I ended up stopping by the expo of the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend and was absolutely inspired. I saw people of all shapes, sizes, and levels of fitness picking up their packets and the excitement in the air was tangible. I got this crazy idea in my head – what if I could take on a half marathon? I started doing my research on the Disney races and targeted the Disneyland Half Marathon as my race of choice…then I learned about the Coast to Coast Challenge. Completing the Coast to Coast Challenge (complete a half or full marathon at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year) entitles you to a beautiful commemorative medal and I was more than tempted. So the Princess Half Marathon popped on my radar. While the race was just 8 weeks away, the theme could not have been more perfect for me. I talked myself into the fact that I could get prepared and registered.
Well, the rest is history. I went from struggling to run more than a mile without walking at least a little to completing my first half marathon in 2:21:36 without walking at all for 13.1 miles. Almost 3 years later, I am still at it and more committed than ever. I used to allow training lapses between races but I learned how frustrating it can be to have to start nearly from scratch and build back up so I started staying more consistent. I didn’t love running when I started but I have grown to love it now. No, I don’t always feel like waking up at dawn to pound the pavement or get out there when I am really tired. The triumphs in-between and the feeling that results from a great run or a new goal achieved make it worth every minute of hard work. Everyone starts somewhere; I’m just so glad that I did.
How did you get started on the road towards your fitness goals? Did you have a “turning point” moment?
How do you inspire other to pursue their fitness goals?