Of all of the things I’ve done this year, I think that running deserves its own end of the year post.
My very first post on here—back in 2015—was about running and how I started in college. I was worse then than I am now; I ran in college because it was something to do and because I felt like a NARP living with athletes. I didn’t take it as seriously as I do now.
For the life of me, I can’t pinpoint exactly what made me think this April that signing up for a 5k race over the summer was a good idea. I hadn’t run since I graduated in 2016, and that’s because it wasn’t something that was important to me. But I came into this year unsure about really everything in my life, and I wanted something to work towards, have a goal, to say I accomplished something.
And I figured a 5k wasn’t a bad idea. I mean, everyone always seems so happy after, plus you always get a medal. And three miles isn’t that much, right?
I researched 5k races in my area—in Connecticut or western Massachusetts—and found Craft Brew Races. I was originally going to sign up for a race in New Haven, CT, but when I went to register it was already canceled. So I settled for the Newport, RI race in July. I asked one of my co-workers at the time—now a good friend of mine—if she’d run with me. She was going through some rocky stuff in her life at the time, and I wanted to be the fun friend that was like, “Hey let’s do something we’re both bad at for fun!” Thankfully she agreed, and we can both successfully say we ran our first 5k race together.
I spent all of April, May, June, and part of July training for the race. Since I hadn’t run more than a mile, I wanted to make sure I could run at least for a short period of time. I ran 3 miles twice before the race, and my final time for that race was 35:29, a lot shorter than I thought it was going to take me.
Then in August, I had a really bad week, and I signed up for another 5k race in September. This one was in the town over from me and was much more low key than the one in Rhode Island. My final time for that one was 35:49.
I was briefly sidelined in September because of an old ankle injury. That was rough because I had gotten into a routine and didn’t want to not run for a few weeks. It was bad enough that I had to wear one of those ace wraps to work.
I think I’ve caught the running bug, something I didn’t think I would. You really don’t know what you’re capable of until you try. Running three miles seemed impossible to me once, and now it’s something I do regularly. Granted, I do walk a little in between miles, and I think now it’s just a habit and I’d like to see if it’s something I can stop. (I was doing it to help with my asthma, and if I can just keep continually running, I’d prefer that because I could shave a few minutes off my final time, but if I need to do so to survive, then I’ll keep doing it.)
Running sucks, though. Like it started out as a survival thing, you know, running from predators and stuff. Now people just do it for fun! I’m proud of myself for putting in the effort this year and sticking with it, as much as some times I didn’t want to do it. Definitely having the track at work to run is helping, and I’m making myself run on the treadmill now that it’s colder.
I signed up for a 10k race in March because I’m crazy. That’s why I’m still training, although I feel like now I just run all the time. (Well, I’m shooting for three times a week.) Like my other races, I don’t really have a set training plan, I just kind of do what feels okay and won’t kill me.
I’m hoping to work on being better at motivating myself because that’s one thing that’s holding me back. I’ve fully accepted that running sucks, especially running in place on a treadmill, but each mile still counts. All that matters is that I put on my shoes and run. I always feel better after, and it feels good that I can check off another run for that week. It helps with my anxiety, and although I don’t really have to lose weight, it helps keep me healthy and in shape. Plus builds endurance for my asthma.
So this is my story about how I did something this year that I didn’t think I’d ever do. I’m always hard on myself, but I know working on running and improving is something to be proud of. I’m looking forward to what I’m able to do next year. I already have the 10k race in March, and I’m doing the 5ks I did this year again next year. My boss runs a lot of races, and I’ll probably sign up for a few more that he told me about.
Thank you to everyone who’s been along my running journey with me and for all of the advice and words of wisdom!
Is there something you did this year that you’re proud of? Or something that happened to you that made you better?