Monday, September 5, 2011

3 C's This Non-Runner Ran Into Training For A 5K

My new lucky number!
You'd have to be the most non-observant person in my tribe to NOT know that I trained for and ran my first 5K this past Friday, Sept 2, 2011.  It all started after my rock-star daughter, Emma ran her first 5K  in June as a culmination of her Girls On The Run program. We casually talked about me running a specific race with her on Labor Day weekend. Casual talk began to include folks outside our family and before you know it - I was purchasing the Couch-To-5K app and starting to train just after July 4.

Always athletic and always competitive, I started the journey and had so many ups and downs:

Yeouch! My @$$ and every thing else just ACHES (Day One)
Yay! I ran for 6 minutes straight. (Week 4)
OMG - I'm never gonna be able to run for 20 minutes straight! (Week 6)
Yay! I ran for 7 songs (or approximately 28 min)  straight! (Week 8)

The day arrived and it was 98 degrees with a heat index that felt like 110, in Chicago. In September. NICE. By race time it had cooled to 89 degrees with 99% humidity. Better.

I did it! Finished the race in 40:31 and Whitney Houston serenaded me "I'm Every Woman" as I crossed the finish line. Can't get any better than that. Oh, but it did.  In my haze in the moments after the race, this non-runner (I know, even days later and planning to run another 5K - it still feels like someone else's sport - I'll let you know if that changes) reflected on three Cs I encountered on this journey.


Running has this underground network of supportive people who encourage you and want to see you run. At every turn during the training I was blessed with "wise runner counsel" from people all over the planet. No lie. I love that people you just meet (JASON SALAS) who you casually mention you're running to give you sage, actionable advice that changes your path - the very next run. It was also awesome to see friends and connections all over the United States - like my high school friend who now lives in Virginia chime in with supportive nuggets when he noticed I completed a Couch-to-5K training.  Thanks Brent. The values that runners have unite them and enable them to help others trying to run. I love that.


Throughout my life, at any given time - I can be "caught" building community around a cause or candidate. This 5K training had to be one of the biggest community building events of my life. All the people who participated and encouraged me really made all the difference. From my Twitter friend in the UK who gave me some invaluable support in the end, to my friend in Belgium who promised to be with me in spirit as I ran,  to all my friends across North America who tweeted/called/emailed their love - I know there is no way I'd have completed this race without this tremendous community. And thanks to Twitter and Facebook - we were all in sync as this unfolded.


This one was the best. It was so very cool to see people sitting all along the route, clapping, smiling and cheering us on. People leaned over their porches kicking back with a beer and friends - waiting to clap and cheer as we ran by. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I've played sports all my life - track/field and tennis in high school and college, soccer as an adult until I became a mom and I never experience anything like this.  I was so touched, so moved, so MOTIVATED not to quit by all the cheering along the way. No lie. Every time I got a tired or wanted to stop running and walk - I'd look up and see a familiar face cheering me on  - literally saying "Denise, good going. You can make it. You can do it." The finish delivered the best moment when my daughter, son and a good friend saw me and ran over to push me over the finish line. I barely heard the crowd cheering and clapping but I saw it.


Now if we could just package these three and bring them to work with us every day.

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