Hmm... the real question is how has it been 3 years? 3 years ago I ran my first 5K without stopping, yesterday I walked a 5K in a little under an hour. 3 years ago I weighed 55 pounds less than I do now. 3 years ago my life was completely different.
I went into my 5K yesterday with a heavy heart, my thoughts wrought with memories of what was... what I was... before. I got to downtown Minneapolis with the other 19,000 people that were signed up for the Turkey Day 5K and my heart was warmed (even though it was 20 degrees out). There is a certain buzz and energy that only a crowd of runners brings; I felt it yesterday.
With the words of my physical therapist echoing in my head - ("Whatever you do, when you start running again, pretend like you never have ran before because the last thing you want to do is reinjure your foot") -I moved towards the starting line with my friend who came out to walk with me. When you have 19,000 people running together, trying to find a rhythm and space to do their thing, you get caught up in the momentum. Because of this, I ended up running for a few minutes to get out of the way.
It felt good.
It felt like home.
We walked and talked the remaining portion of the run, thankful for the lack of wind and sun shining bright.
It felt right to be back out there. I remembered what I loved about running. I remembered what it felt to be surrounded by like-minded people, regardless of shape and size and fitness level. We were all doing it, we all crossed the finish line. There is a lot to be said for that.
I feel thankful that I am able to observe that now, as before, I was only concerned with PR's and time and pace. Now? Now I am thankful that I didn't let the shame of not being able to run the race stop me from participating in the race.
It's a gentle reminder that I can do this, even if it goes slower this time.
Thanksgiving 2010: My First 5K
Thanksgiving 2013: I didn't run, but I did it