Let's be perfectly clear - I am not a runner. When presented with a life or death scenario where curling up in a little ball / playing dead and running away are the two options I will most likely pick choice A. But 3.5 years ago as I was in the middle of some pretty extensive lifestyle changes and weight loss I decided I wanted to try and be a runner.
I downloaded the Couch to 5K (C25K) podcasts, got myself fitted with some supportive running shoes, and I was off on my little adventure. And let me tell you, I hated just about every minute of it. Actually, I liked the first three weeks: you run a little, you walk a little; the intervals were just enough to keep me interested and make me feel like a runner, but not enough to make me feel like I was going to die. Weeks 4 - 9? Disliked. Disliked to the highest degree of disliking possible. I felt none of that runner's high people talk about experiencing while they are running. I experienced the "Thank God I'm Finished Running" high each time I finished one of my days. But I had a goal. My goal was to run in the Pittsburgh Race for the Cure on Mother's Day in 2008 with some friends so I stuck with it.
My goal for my first 5K was to run it in under 45 minutes and run the whole thing. I was successful with my first goal because I crossed the finish line in 44:40. It may have only been by 20 seconds, but I met that goal. Unfortunately, I didn't meet my second goal. The course for this race started going uphill, and continued (with a few dips down here and there) uphill for a good majority of the first 2.5 miles. I was disappointed that I didn't meet both goals so I signed up for another 5K after school was over to see what I could do running a more level course.
Unfortunately my body had other ideas. In true Becky-style I pounded things out so much that I gave myself not 1, not 2, not 3, but FOUR stress fractures. Two were serious enough that I was in a walking boot for several weeks and then went to PT.
So, what does this all have to do with this post? Well, in June a dear friend lost her two year old daughter to an accidental drowning. They are raising funds to build a playground in Leah's name, and today they held a 5K Run / Walk to raise money for the cause. Initially I signed up with the intention of walking, but over the last few weeks I've been jogging here and there with my dogs in an attempt to tire them out so I thought what the heck, let's give it a go.
I fired up the iPod to week 1 of C25K and headed out. I was pretty darn impressed with the fact that I finished the first two miles in about 25 minutes! I was pumped and thinking that I would TOTALLY finished under 40 minutes. And then I hit the $^#8 HILL!! What is it with me picking these events that have giant hills?!?!? Pretty much the last 1.2 miles of the course was uphill and it was ridiculous (equal to an 8% incline on the treadmill... maybe more???). There was no running to be had, but I pushed myself to just keep walking, and I did. It took me as long to finish that last 1.2 miles as it did to do the first two combined, but I did it. Didn't stop, didn't take a break, just kept moving.
I would still choose to curl up in a little ball and play dead if I needed to. But sometimes when the cause is important enough we will reach deep inside ourselves to find the heart to do something we don't love just because it's the right thing to do. And maybe I don't dislike it as much as I thought I did. I'm signed up for another charity 5K next weekend, and I'm already planning on run/walking like I did today.