Yesterday I ran my first race ever, as a part of the training I am am doing for the Disney Half Marathon for Haiti. It was just a 5k, but it was a first for me. The race was a fundraiser for the school where my sister and mother-in-law work, so they were there, too, along with Mark and the kids. I decided to run ahead because I wanted to get the experience of running without picking up sippy cups or soothing tantrums along the way. Mark was gracious enough to push the double jogger and keep up with Jafta.
Initially, the race was pretty humbling. I am a really slow runner. Really slow. Running might not even be the best word for it, since there were people walking faster than the pace I was keeping. I was watching children and moms with strollers pass me by. I tried not to get discouraged, and reminded myself that my speed was not important.
About halfway through the race, though, people started to tire, and I was still going strong. I ended up passing a good portion of the other runners in the middle of the race, and felt pretty good the whole time. My training so far has gone up to six miles, so a little over three miles seemed like a piece of cake. I finished feeling energized, and most importantly: NOT LAST. Then I got to wait at the finish line for the rest of my family.
This training has been interesting for me. I've been trying to just submit myself to the schedule, and not freak out over each week. If I look at the whole four months, it's easy to get intimidated and wonder how in the world I will ever run 13+ miles at one time. But if I take it week by week, and trust the process, then each step is manageable. This week, I move on to seven miles. I've already done six. It's just one more mile. I can do that.
When my sister-in-law saw me in my running gear this morning, she reminded me of a time about ten years ago that our family all went bowling, and I protested because I "didn't like sports." I still don't like sports (or bowling), but it feels good to be doing something I thought was only reserved for the genetically athletic. A few months ago, being in a three-mile race would have sounded daunting, painful, and impossible. Today, it was just a little run.
That was a good feeling.
*By the way, go check out the blog for Heartline Runners, who I will be running with in January. We are fundraising for women in Haiti and could use your support!