Wednesday, May 13

running (for a cure)

I think I mentioned a few months back that I'd started running. It all began in mid-February, when 3 people asked in one week if I was a runner, and then my friend Joanna (who was then visiting from Seattle) asked me if I wanted to run with her before I went to work. She and I ran for about a mile in the park, and it was completely glorious to be outside for an extended period in the winter. Joanna also talked about her recent conversion to running, and I was struck with the inspiration to start training on my own.

I think I should mention that I've tried running before, but without success. In middle school we had to run a timed mile every year, and it was something I dreaded for months ahead of time. In high school I actually quit playing lacrosse because I hated running so much, and in college I used to jog with a friend of mine, but we never went more than a mile. Even more recently I have run sporadically in the park, but again never went farther than about a mile.

This time, I downloaded some Couch-to-5k podcasts. The program involves running 3 times a week over the course of 9 weeks, and eases you into running in a very manageable way. About half way through my program, I realized that I'd reach the goal (5k) around the time my cousins run their annual Race for the Cure 5k in Philadelphia, which is held yearly on Mother's Day. They invited me to join them, and my runs began to take on a purpose.

Needless to say, last week was week 9 of my training and the race was on Sunday morning. Last Monday I ran my first 3 miles at the gym (the rain kept me indoors) and on Thursday afternoon I ran what I thought was about 3 miles in the park. And on Sunday morning, after a nervous night's sleep, I found myself here:
That's me waving to my cousins across the crowd.

My cousins are Real Runners, meaning that they do things like train for marathons, and one of them has a treadmill in her garage. In the period leading up to the race, they kept telling me that I'd find the race to be a piece of cake, that it was only 5 kilometers. Well, they were right. The worst part was probably the first third of the race, when I couldn't stop coughing (I think I had a bug in my throat or something) and then I got a stitch in my right side. My cousin's husband (also a marathon runner, who was running with us) advised me to reach my right hand over my shoulder and to lean back a little. The stitch went away almost immediately, and the rest was downhill (well, not literally, but it felt much easier). We finished the race in about 32 minutes.

Christopher, who didn't sleep the night before due to my nervous tossing and turning, dragged himself down and took some photos of me at the finish line. He's a good sport.I shouldn't forget to mention the fact that we were running in order to raise money for Breast Cancer. I raised $140 from donations. There were roughly 35,000 people participating in the run/walk, and I found being in that crowd rather sobering. Many people (including my cousins and I) were running in memory of a loved one, and some had signs celebrating their mom or sister or whatnot. Perhaps I was feeling overwhelmed by the race and early hour anyway, but while Christopher and I were wandering around trying to find my cousins I must have cried 3 or 4 times reading people's signs. Once I found my cousins, they advised me to stop reading people's signs, since they were so upsetting. Good idea.Anyway, I did it! and it wasn't such a big deal. Strangely, now that I've reached my goal, I don't feel like running anymore. I know that this is a mistake, that I should keep going, even if it's just to maintain my distance, but it's hard to get out there and run!


knithound brooklyn said...

Great story, E.
When I got the part about not feeling like it any more, I remembered that segment in the movie "Forrest Gump"? He ran and ran and ran. Until one day he stopped.

knithound brooklyn said...

Wait. Have you redecorated lately? duh...just noticed!

Hilary said...

Congratulations! What a great cause, and an amazing achievement!

ADW said...

NICE JOB! You look great out there!!
I've only done one local race and it was less then 100 people which really puts the pressure on, and of course they post the names and times in the local newspaper so the pressure is really really on!! .. I liked running Broad St because w/ 22,000 people I knew I wouldn't be last!!