So, I'm a runner. I run, it's what I do. I own running shoes, I wear two sports bras at a time and after I warm up walk I go faster and both feet are in the air at the same time. I run. Oh, and I'm 239.9 pounds, but that is beside the point, as I have come to learn.
This is shortly after I started the C25k program. I was about 275 pounds when I started running those torturous fartleks. I wore cross training shoes and downloaded 5k podcasts with music I would normally avoid at all costs, but they got me through the intervals. When I started the program I really thought there was no way I could be running for 30 minutes straight in 9 weeks, so I doubled the program. I did week 1 twice and so on. At the end of w1 I asked a friend, who is a veteran runner, if it was smart to move on to w2 seeing as how w1 made me cry, every time. He said "Running is hard, move on." So I did.
Around w4 I got running shoes (Which changed everything) and my sweet husband started creating podcasts with built-in intervals using music I loved. I also stopped giving myself excuses to train so slowly. I stopped doubling weeks and challenged myself to move on every week. Running is hard, move on.
As of 3 weeks ago I had failed to register for the 5k in my neighborhood, even though it was my goal when I started the program. Lucky for me I have a husband who supports me and also calls me on my bullsh*, he just went ahead and registered for me. My anxiety grew everyday, even after really good runs where I felt like running might very well be my life's calling. The apex of my anxiety was night before last. It was 9 PM and I was suddenly struck with fear. What if I'm the biggest person there? What if I finish last? What if people stand on their porches and point at me while I drag past their houses? But not running was not an option so I reached out for support in my sparkpeople 5k group and put my fears aside.
Of course, as I laced up my shoes this morning and gobbled up my banana the fears kept creeping up and I kept pushing them aside. I was a trained runner. I run, it's what I do.
I walked to the park, a couple blocks from my house, where the race would start and finish and of course all I could see were really fit, beautiful people, walking up to the registration table like they knew what they were doing. "I have no business here" was all I could hear in my head, "and all of these people know it." But they didn't flinch when I gave them my name. They just handed me a package with a time chip and a bib. Right on the bib it said 'Runner 383'. I belonged there. I paid for my bib with my time, sweat and tears. I ran my ass off to get to that 5k. It was MY 5k. I am a runner.
The race started well, in fact I had to slow down a bit when I came up on the 1k marker way sooner than I planned. I served as a great motivator to those around me who sped up when they saw me gaining on them. Half way through the race was an h20 table and a turn around, which is where the magic happened. My body knew what to do. I had been training for weeks and my body responded to a simple request to speed up. The endorphins flooded my brain and body, Tom Petty's 'Runnin' down a dream' started in my ear, I lifted my chin and ran. I rounded the last corner, the crowd was in the distance cheering on finishers and I ran faster. Soon, I could see my husband, poised for picture taking. Our eyes locked and I was overcome with emotion. See, everyone I talked to about running a 5k said either "5k is only 3 miles, what's the big deal?" Or "It's okay if you have to stop and walk a little." Only my husband said "Don't walk. You're not a walker. You've been training to run, don't walk." I never did walk, the whole time. After I crossed the finish line the guy who was cutting off my time chip asked how I did and through tears I said "The best I've ever done in my life!" and people around me clapped and cheered.
You see that look on my face? Pure elation. I won't say that I can't believe I did it because I can. I showed up for every run. I trained my body to that. I'm a runner, I run.