I do not think of myself as a runner at all. Growing up, I was a swimmer. Growing up, I liked the Shuttle during the Presidential Fitness tests but hated running the 600. I can still remember that feeling of not being able to catch my breath and having a side cramp at the same time as I completed the 600. But I just registered for two 5K races. And I have completed two 5K races. Maybe I am a runner?
Last Fall, our school had a Memorial 5K race in honor of a parent. I wanted to be supportive so I signed up. I kept thinking, how hard can it be? I reminded myself I can even just walk the whole thing if I get that horrible feeling from running again. I distinctly recall that race day. I felt nervous. I almost didn’t go, thinking how I already made my donation. But I went and it was hard. It was hard to be surrounded by so many people who looked like they knew what they were doing. It also was hard because the course was so, so, so hilly. It was hard because I had never done a 5K before and I didn’t even research the course before and I kept wondering how much longer it would be. After a combination of walking and running, I did finish. It helped immensely when I ran into a friend during the race and we could run/walk and chat. I laughed when at the finish line, a student pointed out that I had pinned my race number on upside down, definitive proof that I was a nervous, rookie 5Ker.
After that first 5K in the Fall, I decided to help with Girls on the Run at my school during the Spring. On Tuesdays, I joined 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade girls after school for an hour. I did some walking. I did a bit of running. I mostly handed out stickers each time a girl did a lap around the track. I did sign-up for the culminating 5K race. Happily it was a flat course this time. Happily, my friend joined me again but this time from the start to the finish. Happily I finished and even correctly pinned on my race number!
Now it is Fall again. I signed up to run the Memorial race again on Saturday, Nov. 19th. It will be that same hilly course but I’m ready. It helps just knowing it is hilly and I have my friend and other teachers to race with. I am also helping some with Girls on the Run this Fall and their race is Sunday, Nov. 20th. Yikes. I guess I can run a 5K on one day and then another 5K on the next. But I’m starting to wonder if this is a good idea. Or maybe, it is time to think of myself as a runner.
Wait, let’s not get carried away!!