The last time I ever ran a race was in Grade 10. Back then I was part of the track and field team. Not because I was particularly interested in sports but because I was particularly interested in full days off school for track meets and cute boys from other teams. I didn't train hard nor was I co-ordinated, but I was athletic enough to do alright (just alright...not more) at most track and field events with little effort.
(The long jump in 1999 (?). Another mediocre track and field event for me)
In Grade 10 I signed up for the 1500m. race. I sometimes ran to catch the school bus, so I would be fine, right? I should have known it wasn't going to go well when I lined up at the start line and noticed that all the other girls were tiny and their shorts were even tinier. These girls looked serious...
It only took one lap around the track for me to be that straggler way behind everyone else... I was mortified. I didn't expect to win but I also wasn't expecting to be so thoroughly humbled. And so I did that only thing I could think of to save face; I gave into an asthma attack and I quit.
My coach called me out on my childish act and told me I faked an asthma attack. I was indignant. I would never give up unless I had a good reason, I was not a quitter. Looking back now, with truth and a bit of maturity, I can fully admit that I quit because I was so embarrassed at being last. Running the 5k with my sisters-in-law was a chance to prove to myself that I was not a quitter... anymore.
(Pink shoes make running more fun. Trust me.)
When I started training, I didn't expect to like running. I thought I would just deal with it. Lo and behold, after getting over the pain of being unable to climb the stairs for the first week, I grew to love my evening runs. It seems when my legs are running, my brain temporarily stops running. With my obnoxious music blaring in my ears, I am strangely at peace.
And even though I told myself I was running the race just for fun, I googled my run times and I was pleased to see that I was doing well. Those girls in high school were right, the shorter the shorts, the faster the pace... On race day, I ended up placing 4th in my age group and running it in just under 25 minutes.
I know a 5k is kinda like child's play for all those wonderful crazies (who I love dearly) who run marathons and half-marathons... But that 5k got me hooked. My next goal is to run a 10k race or I to finish a 5k in under 22 minutes... unless a sneaky fake asthma attack gets me first...
(J. Biebs in my ear...)