I seriously can't believe I am about to do this, but I'm posting it on my blog, so I must be planning to follow through. I'm joining a running club with the goal of running either a 5 or 10K. I have never participated in any kind of running program in my life. In fact, I've never run over two miles. Yes, there was that one summer - I was 14, and I decided to think about joining track. I got up each morning and worked my way up to jogging the mile and a half distance that was my neighborhood. I thought I was doing good, until I talked to the track coach who said I needed to be able to run 5 miles (or some equally insurmountable distance) by the beginning of the school year. And that was as far as the dream went. Now I'm 18 years older. Wait, what?
Everyone I talk to blows this off as simple. "Stephanie, you can run three and a half miles easily!" Huh? I run two blocks at Stroller Strides, and I'm out of breath (we'll blame it on the stroller). Well the truth is, my cohorts at Stroller Strides are heroically signing up for a half marathon. So now my original goal of a 5K doesn't seem quite as far reaching as I thought. I guess I'll aim for the 10K (6.2 miles).
The club starts Monday (Presidents' Day), and I seriously have cold feet.
These, however, are the assets in my court:
1. Hilary. She is my Stroller Strides instructor and will also be the running club trainer. She has a great attitude and a contagious smile. She's encouraging and makes you feel like you can reach any goal you put your mind to. Now I can put her words to the test - it's nice to have someone else to hold accountable! ;)
2. A new pair of running shoes. I have never before been fitted for running shoes. And I'm now realizing it makes all the difference. As the first step towards convincing myself that I was joining this running club, I went to a shoe clinic at Super Jock 'N Jill in Seattle. This place is fantastic. There is no talk about price and no thought given to the appearance of the shoes. From the minute you walk in, they evaluate the way you walk, how your foot touches the ground, and what specific foot support you may need. They have you try on fifteen or so shoes, each time telling you to run up and down the hill outside their store to compare the fit. In the end, you truly feel like you have a running shoe that was meant for you. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
3. A support group. This one pretty much speaks for itself. It offers encouragement and accountability. Two things I must have if I ever want to reach my goal. I've already seen this work to my advantage during Stroller Strides. Rather than thinking about the effort I'm going to exert, I think about the friends who I am going to see. We challenge one another; this is evidenced by the fact that I am signing up for running club in the first place. Sometimes all you need is a nice, firm push! ;)
In the end, I've come to the conclusion that:
• I've never done this before. It's about time.
• It's going to be hard to fail when I have so much support. I really think I'll follow through.
• It'll be an accomplishment I'll always be proud of, whether running becomes a favorite pastime or not.
So there it is. I'm doing it. I'll check in and let you know how it's going in a couple of weeks. Have you ever participated in a race before? If so, give me some words of inspiration. I'll need to read through them forty or fifty times before each running club meeting.