At 42 years of age I started running. Again.
I had dabbled with a bit of running back in the day but a torn cartilage in my left knee in 2002 and surgery to repair it in 2004 left me a bit scared to run. It also gave me the perfect excuse not to run.
It started with a workplace supported event. I signed up for my first 5k race in 12 years and I had just 5 short weeks to get ready for it. When I mentioned this to my husband all he could say was “Good Luck“.
I Googled “5 Weeks to 5k” and came up with this. Seemed simple enough so I dusted off the treadmill, printed off my 5 week schedule and, like Forrest, I just ran.
I had no idea I could sweat so much or that running would be so hard. There were days when I would have to talk myself through the first 5 minutes, the last 5 minutes and all of the minutes in between. But I kept running.
On week 3 of the training plan my knees started to hurt during my run and continued to hurt for a day after running. I turned to the trusty Google gods and tried to determine what was causing the pain. Turns out it could be A LOT of things and those Google gods had me worried I would not be able to run on race day. (Here’s a tip … try not to follow the links Google presents to you when trying to diagnose yourself. It’s like Alice and the rabbit hole, once your in there you’re smoking a hookah with a giant caterpillar and hoping the bottle labeled “Drink Me” will take you out.)
After speaking with some running peers it looked like I had a case of the Terrible Too’s. Too much, too far, too soon. Our treadmill was set for miles instead of kilometers and because I did not know this when I started I was running 1.6 times farther than I should have. I cut back, printed out a mile conversion chart, bought a new pair of shoes, stuck to the plan and kept running.
On June 15th I ran the race finishing with a time of 42:51. There was a time or two (or ten) during that race when I wanted to stop running and just walk but I didn’t. I kept running.
I kept running because my husband had said “Good Luck” with a tone that implied “Yeah right“. I kept running because I had made a commitment to my peers. I kept running because I hate to be told I can’t even if the only voice telling me I can’t is my own.
After that race I could have stopped running but I didn’t. Something changed and I felt different. I slept better, I ate better and I felt better physically and mentally. I was getting up at 5:30, lacing up my shoes and watching the sun rise over the fields while everyone else in my house was still sleeping. I could no longer fit into my Skinny Jeans because my thighs and calves were too big and I didn’t care.
I keep running because it turns out I kinda like running and running kinda likes me.