I have knocked one of the items on my LA list — running the UCLA 5k!
Please note the post-race sweaty sheen, the pink face, and the look of absolute excitement! Oh, and please ignore the goofy hand gesture.
For years, I had a tortured relationship with running, thanks to PE. PE is torture for high schoolers who aren’t naturally athletic. Straight up torture, both physically and emotionally. You already are insecure about your fitness? Cool. Let’s make you run a timed mile in front of your whole class and prove that you’re slow. Oh, and then you get a bad grade. Done and done. Ugh. Hate. I promised myself that I’d never have to run again, after I graduated from high school.
That promise went out the window when I was 20, out of shape after studying abroad and eating tons of delicious British cookies, and without a gym membership. I huffed and puffed my way around town, walking a lot, running a little, but all in all, I kinda liked it. It gave me time to zone out and listen to music, plus I always feel better after a run.
Since then, I’ve had periods where I’ve run more than others, but I’ve never been that serious about it. A 5k always seemed to be just out of reach. Sure, it’s not that far of a run, but you have to put some effort into training if you’re half slug like me. And I always had something better to do — Say Yes to the Dress marathons, eating Speculoos out of the jar, painting my nails different colors…important things.
I finally had enough about two months ago. No more excuses. I’m healthy enough to run a 5k, I just need to put in the effort! So, March and April became a haze of four to five time a week runs. I finally finished the Couch to 5k program I started in 2006. (I was able to start from the middle weeks, so I didn’t have to do the whole 8 week program). I actually tracked my times and distances. I pushed harder. I didn’t give up and walk nearly as much as I used to. And it worked.
My friends, I have now completed a 5k with an offical 34:57 time, three seconds faster than my goal. I ran up hills, I was cheered on by a very sweet boy (who got up EARLY on a Sunday with me with no grumbling at all!), I was passed by folks pushing strollers, and I passed people in very serious looking athletic gear. It was crazy.
Most importantly, I didn’t walk once. Every time I wanted to, I reminded myself of all the hard work I had put in. I couldn’t let myself down by walking, even for a few seconds. So I didn’t. And it was awesome.