I want to preface this post by saying that I am not a runner – at least not yet. I’ve tried many times to develop running into a habit over the years, but I haven’t been successful. For the past four years or so, I haven’t even tried. I had adopted an attitude of “I’m just not a runner” and frequently made jokes that if you ever saw me running, you should run too because something obviously must be chasing me. I had given up hope that I would ever be one of those people who crossed the finish line of a race, looking exhausted but so absolutely proud of themselves. But yesterday I ran 3.1 miles (5k). And I did not die, as I feared I would. In fact, it felt great. Let me start at the beginning.
It all started with a pair of shoes.
And if there’s one thing Cinderella taught us, it’s that a great pair of shoes can change your life.
A few weeks ago I was visiting my parents and went shoe shopping with my mom. And I figured while I was at the shoe store, I figured I should get a new pair of sneakers – you know, just in case I actually decided to do some kind of physical activity. The pair of New Balance sneakers above caught my eye. Of course they weren’t the cheapest shoes in the store by any means, but after picking them up and discovering how unbelievable lightweight they were – and then trying them on and discovering how incredibly comfortable they were – I was hooked. I had to have these shoes. And then a funny thing happened, the shoes made me want to go for a walk. So the next day my dad and I took a 1.5 mile walk around the neighborhood first thing in the morning. And when I got back home to DC, I took a walk around my neighborhood in the afternoon that was another approximately 1.5 miles. I actually was anxious at work all day to get home and take a walk. It’s like the shoes were at home begging to be used.
I also think the shoes may have just been the catalyst, and the true motivator is my new, healthy lifestyle. I’ve been on a green diet for almost a year now, and I feel better and better each day. And the next logical step in my transition was to become more active. And this all coincided perfectly with the start of warmer weather (except for our freak snowstorm yesterday), so it was the perfect storm. Yesterday, despite the snow and cold, I walked to the gym and ran/jogged/walked (mostly walked, but never too slowly) 3.1 miles. Why 3.1? Well, yesterday I signed up for ‘Run or Dye’ in DC with a friend of mine. It’s a 5k color run on June 8th, where you run through the course and get splattered with paint. Sounds amazing, right? I signed up yesterday at lunch, but then I had to prove to myself that I could actually get through 3.1 miles without dying or making a fool of myself. Which fortunately I didn’t.
Actually during the first 1.5 miles, I was thinking that my training strategy was all wrong and that I should stop at 1.5 and then work up from there. But a funny thing happened after 1.5 miles – it got easier. I hit my stride and finished out the last 1.6 feeling great. I have to believe that my healthy diet has provided my body with some inner strength – some store of energy – that I never had before. I walked/jogged 3.1 miles in 51:00 minutes which is severely embarrassing to admit (how long it took me) but at least I did it. And I figure I can keep doing the same 3.1 and work to get my time down – and this time I feel like it’s a goal I can manage. And maybe, just maybe, at the end of it all I’ll be a runner.