I used to think there was no way I’d be able to do a 5K. No way! I mean, me run 3.1 miles? Okay… me walk 3.1 miles, even? Yeah, sure – I used to walk all over the place, every day, all the time. That was before I gained all this weight, though. No way could I do it!
In 2011, though, I decided what the hell – I was going to try and walk the 5K at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, even though I hadn’t been walking regularly for over a year. (I lived in Oklahoma City then.) The first time I ever went to a health & fitness expo was that year to pick up my race packet. I was surprised it wasn’t just full of jocks and people I’d have absolutely nothing in common with. One of the ladies with a runner’s magazine (I can’t remember which) began talking with me, and when she found out I was going to try the 5K, she said “Remember – no matter what, at least you tried. That’s more than many people can say.” Goofy me got all choked up over that!
The morning of the race was filled with lightning and thunder, and I was filled with paranoia and anxiety. What if I can’t find a parking space? What if I have to walk a mile and a half to the starting line and then can’t walk much more? What if I can’t even find the starting line? Do I even belong with these people? I can barely walk up a couple flights of stairs -who am I to think I could ever walk miles with athletes?
All of that negative emotion pooled in my tummy and I got sick. So no, I never made it to that race.
By the next year, I lived in Ohio. The Dayton area is home to Wright Patterson Air Force Base – and the United States Air Force Marathon. I found out it had a 5K, it was walker-friendly, and it was held in the evening – which was great for me because I have never been much of a morning person if it involves actually going somewhere on a schedule. Okay, I thought – I gotta do this one. I wanted to try, and I knew, deep down, that if I didn’t let myself try, the specter of failure would just grow and grow, and soon I would be too afraid to try it.
So I did it. 2013 was cancelled because of a bad thunderstorm, but I walked the 3.1 miles the next day at the indoor track. I finished 2014 and now 2015. This year I can finally hang my four medals on a special hanger that says “Believe”. Why did I choose that one? Because even when I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish – like this year, if you saw that post! – I still found it in myself to believe in myself and try.
I’m always so glad I did!