Over the last year, I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. This wasn’t easy for me, since I’m a creature of habit and love routine. And, change terrifies me, I confess. But I got tired of being afraid of doing something different, because I want to be the sort of person who is open to anything, ready for adventure.
I’ve done some pretty awesome things since deciding not to let fear hold me back…trying (and loving!) Zumba, jumping out of an airplane….and last Saturday, I ran my first 5k. I’d always looked at people who ran races sort of longingly, thinking how cool it would be to be able to do that. But I wasn’t a runner. In high school gym, I couldn’t even run the mile every Wednesday. I’d start out with the best of intentions, trotting my way around the track for the first lap before walking the rest, but it never even occurred to me that I might be able to run the whole thing. So I never even tried.
So in February, when my friend Kristy said to me, “Let’s run the St. Patrick’s Day Dash!” I agreed despite my worry that I’d make an ass out of myself because I can’t run. Instead of focusing on past failures, I calculated the amount of time before the race and made a plan to prepare for it. The first night I tried running, I decided that I was going to run the full distance, a full 3.1 miles. I was going to prove to myself that it was possible. And I was slow, I was tired, but I did it.
Running got easier with each week that I did it, and before long I was breezing through two miles.
The race was last weekend, which turned out to be a cold and rainy morning. The St. Patrick’s Day Dash is an annual event in Seattle, and it’s packed. At the beginning of the race, I couldn’t really run, just kind of bobbed up and down as I moved slowly forward through a huge crowd of people. Once the crowd thinned, we were able to really run.
Kristy and I finished in 44 minutes 34 seconds…pretty good in my opinion, especially since the actual distance we ran was more like 3.8 miles, so over a 5k. Not only am I really proud of myself for being able to complete it, I’m looking forward to finding another 5k to run soon.
I started off training for this race hating running, but being pushed forward by my goal of completing the race. Now I see running more as both a challenge and an accomplishment, something I can do and feel good about myself for doing.
Post-race, my friends and I celebrated and toasted each other with a beer at the Irishmen…at about 11am! Hey, it was St. Patrick’s Day after all!