Walk a 5K? Who.....Me?

Monday, October 14, 2013

I never thought I would say these words: I signed up to walk a 5K.

Some background for those who don't know me: I was the kid in high school walking down the hall while reading a book. Never the "athletic type," I dreaded P.E., especially the inevitable day we all were forced to "run" a mile. For me, there was no running on that day, just panting, sweating, dust, and pain. I would struggle across the finish line, usually last, cursing the coaches or the unknown entity who dreamed up this idea in the first place.

Gradually, as an adult, I've faced my traumatic relationship with exercise, and I'm happy to say that- little by little- I've been able to salvage the relationship and make it fun. I took a beginning yoga class in college which opened my mind to the possibility of gentler forms of exercise that still provided a physical challenge, without the "drill sargent" approach of my high school coaches.

After making yoga a regular part of my life, I gained the physical strength to be open to other forms of exercise: I've tried walking on the treadmill, using the elliptical, and most recently some light cycling. I've even come to look forward to my daily workout.

But still. There are limits. And I thought one of mine was "I'm not a runner"; another self-imposed limit
"I don't do races/charity walks."

And yet, here I am, two weeks away from walking my first 5K, the Autism Walk.

I would be tempted to consider this event a fluke, a weird twist of fate that happens once and never again. After all, the reason I originally signed up was to show support for my friends who found out both their young boys have autism. But oddly, the more I prepare myself for the walk, the more I've felt drawn to the sport of running. I find myself leafing though running magazines and perusing running websites. And I've started walking/running outdoors so that I can run for Autism Speaks whenever through the Charity Miles app. Supporting a good cause and improving my health at the same time: how cool is that?

Who knows? Will running become my new lifelong passion or a passing phase?

My new self-imposed limit: nothing with the word "marathon" in the title.

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