For a long time that word was a dirty word in my vocabulary. I was not a runner. I would even go so far to say I loathed running. Anytime I would hear that word I would cringe. Every time I would run, I would get winded and could barely go 30 seconds without stopping to walk and catch my breath.
Even as a child, I could not run. In elementary school P.E., we would have to run laps on the track outside. I would come in, red faced and having a tough time breathing. Right after P.E. was science and I would still be recovering as we started class. I remember my teacher telling me that she was concerned when I ran and that I just must not have the lung capacity to run like that. Well…for someone who hated running, that was my ticket out! It was my excuse to not have to run. And I let it stick with me.
As an adult, my excuses grew. Not to mention I was carrying an extra 100+ pounds on my body. So, when my husband and two older kids did the Superintendent Fun Run for our school district two years ago, I made the excuse to stay home with our youngest child. They had a blast and I stayed home secretly wishing I could do that too.
Fast-forward one year. I had just stated my transformation journey. I was a few months in and had started doing small runs on the treadmill as an accelerator. When the time came for the Fun Run, I was eager to sign up. Scott and I signed up for the 5K and the older two teenagers for the 1-mile. It was very fun, but still very trying. I could run for little stints, but our overall time was about an hour. I was determined to get better.
One of the co-coaches we had at the beginning of my coaching journey was Susan. Susan is an avid runner and I will be forever grateful for the time she took one afternoon talking with me on the phone about tips and tricks for beginning running. She gave me tips on breathing (inhale for a count of 3, exhale for a count of 2), running shoes and more. Those tips helped to propel me to the next level.
I began running on a regular basis. I found a helpful couch to 5K app and I noticed my length of time running vs walking as growing on the treadmill. After a few months, I decided it was time to start running outside. Finding time was difficult, but I decided I had to make time. So, I began waking up at 4:45 and out the door running by 5:00 every morning. (Well, most mornings.) It became an addiction. I would feel different on the days I didn’t run. Grumpy or sleepy. Not myself. I actually LIKED running.
Eventually I got to the point of being able to run 20 minutes straight at a time. That was a long way from 30 seconds! In January 2019, at Epic Weekend (post coming soon), I was able to run the 5K in 14:44 pace. It was one of my best paces. Now, I know it is not a record pace and probably for most runners it is laughable. BUT for me it was a huge accomplishment. The best part, Susan was there and ran across the finish line with me! That was an amazing feeling.
So now we come to the Superintendent Fun Run this year. My goal was to complete it in less than 45 minutes. It is not really a competitive race. It is a family friendly event with little kids running along side their parents. Sometimes it was like a game of running dodge ball trying not to trip over little kiddos. I was so excited but nervous at the same time. Would I be able to make my goal? Would my inner voice creep in and tell me I shouldn’t be there?
As the horn went off to start the race, I began my run. At first, I could hear that negative inner voice creeping in. “Look at all the people passing you!” “You are never going to make your goal time.” “You just need to walk it.” BUT…I kept my focus, remembered all my training, and had the BEST run of my LIFE! I finished the race in 39:06 at a pace of 12:34 per mile! CHAMPS!!!
There are several lessons that I learned from this experience:
1. Don’t let someone else tell you who you are or what you can do. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO. Sometimes it is something from way back in your past that you did not even realize you were holding on to until you dig deep and address it. I learned that I do have some breathing issues, but I talked with my doctor, began using an inhaler, and I am good to go now!
2. Don’t be afraid to try something again, even if you used to hate it. I am in love with running now. I don’t know if I will be a marathon runner, but I love starting my day outside in the quiet of the morning, listening to Carrie Underwood’s “Champion” or Katy Perry’s “Roar” and running two miles around my neighborhood. It is a great way to start my day.
3. Keep pushing yourself and setting goals. I kept giving myself small goals. I did a few 5K’s last year and every time I did better and better. But my big goal was the 1 year mark of the Fun Run. My next goal? To ROCK IT on stage of the Whitney Jones Classic Transformation Show in April. I keep working hard and striving to be my best self on that stage. To show not only how I have transformed physically, but mentally as well. If you don’t have a goal, you will become complacent and let excuses get in the way. Always have a goal.