5,000 metres… what’s up with that? Well it’s 3.2 (or so) miles, or traditionally know as a 5k. Sure I’ve participated in them in the past – many moons ago. Any past 5k’s I may have done consisted of collecting pledges, showing up with a group of friends, and walking lazily, chatting the entire distance, and not even thinking about whether or not I’d finish, or how long it would take me. I just did it.
Last week I turned a corner. I did a 5k. My intent initially was to jog it, then I started with the attitude of defeat and said I’d walk it, then I thought maybe I really can do this thing. So I signed up, and I showed up. 5k, big deal right? Anyone can do a 5k right? Let’s back up the train a sec…
I am not an athlete, I have never been an athlete, and don’t pretend to be an athlete. I tried a few sports throughout my school career as a youth, but nothing really stuck. Then a few years back after packing on some pounds with 2 back-to-back babies it was time to shed some pounds. One visit to the doc and some fated words… “If you don’t lose the weight before you turn 40, you will probably never lose it.” Enough said! I set out to lose the weight, and over the course of a year, reducing my carb intake and getting on the treadmill 5 days a week, I lost approximately 50 pounds. Yes 50! Still that did not make me an athlete.
I have maintained my weight since losing it 5 years ago, however, last October (now almost 7 months ago), I gave up smoking cigarettes. I should mention that my treadmill use over the last 5 years has been sporadic at best since losing the weight. I would go in spurts where I’d use it, then I would get too busy. But since quitting smoking I very quickly put on 10 pounds. Now, I am not overweight – by any stretch, in fact I am the definition of normal in both height and weight – but I need to feel good in my skin (and would prefer not to buy new clothes that are a size bigger), so I embarked recently on a journey to get back into shape. I need not lose a ton of weight, but I do wish to redistribute some of it to other locations.
But see, I thought all this really great get-in-shape stuff in my head. Thinking good thoughts isn’t really conducive to weight loss or getting in shape on it’s own – you have to take action. I started eating more fruit, less sweets, and sporadically got on the treadmill. Then along comes this 5k and changes me, I feel, forever… I signed up (after convincing a co-worker friend to do it with me), got my t-shirt and got back into getting on the treadmill regularly. I set a secret time for myself… runner’s don’t you dare laugh – but I wanted to it in an hour or less. Frankly, I just wanted to finish without making a complete fool of myself…
As the race started for us slow people back in the green zone, I was overwhelmed with butterflies.
Well I finished the race, and I met my goal of doing it in an hour or less – actually quite a bit less. I did not run the whole 5k. I jogged, and then I walked and then I jogged and then I walked – my overall pace was 13.41 mph and I finished the 5k in 47:52. To say that I am proud of myself and feeling a huge sense of accomplishment would be an understatement. Truth be told, I cried as I ran across the finish line (but had sunglasses on, so nobody saw). It was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life to date these past 41 some years. I still have this sense of I did it! I did it! And now I want to do more.
So for me, yes… there will be a “next race.” My next goal is to shave about 8 minutes off my time and finish my next 5k in under 40 minutes. I have until September, so I feel confident that I can achieve this next goal. And yes, I’ve added a 10k to my bucket list. I won’t say when, because I don’t know… I will know when I am ready, (and it will not be this year).
What you won’t see… is me running the back roads for miles and miles on a regular basis. For now, I stick with my trusty friend, my treadmill. I love my treadmill. She has been good to me, and has helped me redefine myself in many ways. She has transformed me in both body in mind, from that heavy girl who had two babies and gained too much weight, to now a woman with a “can-do” attitude that is ready to focus on the next goal. Yes, my treadmill, she’s there on rainy days, she’s there at night when the kids are asleep. She waits patiently for me, and always is happy to see me I know there are people that knock the treadmill, for me she is my most loyal companion in reshaping my self-image both inside and out.
But to the person who says “I can’t” – I say you are the only thing stopping you…
Here’s to the next 5,000 metres of my journey.