My 3-Mile Journey

My internal alarm clock went off right at 7:00am on the dot and I woke to a crisp, cool (almost too cool) October morning.  I made my way into my daughter’s room to get her up and ready for the day. Just like every other day of the week, we ate breakfast and chatted away about the day to come.

But unlike every other day, I was about to head out to do something I had never done before. Something I never WANTED to do before, and if I’m being honest, a little part of me didn’t really want to do it this day either!

After frantically searching the house for a missing glove that was nowhere to be found, I eventually walked out the door with my nerves in a jumble, ready to finish the last leg of my 3-mile journey.

About thirty minutes later, I strode across the starting line of my first 5K race, knowing it would all be over soon!

My 3-mile journey started long before that chilly October day. In fact, it really started at the beginning of the summer. But to set the scene for you, I’m going to go back even further than that.

Rewind 5 years to December 2009.

I had recently finished grad school, had just moved to the area, and didn’t know a single person (other than my husband). As the cold weather moved in, I started getting an itch to do something. Anything. I knew that over the last few years, my eating habits and lack of exercise had resulted in me not totally loving my body. So I decided this was the time to dig in and do something about it. So I started eating better and going to the gym. I started out slow and ended up going to the gym 5-6 days a week. I kept it up for a year and felt fantastic. In the end I (slowly) lost about 20 pounds and toned my muscles. But the best outcome was how energized and mentally refreshed I felt.

After one year of hitting the gym hard, I plateaued and stopped seeing results. Combined with the fact that I got out of my routine due to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays I slowly stopped working out.

Fast forward 1 ½ years to May 2012.

My daughter was born, and regular exercise and working out was not a priority. About six months after I stopped breastfeeding, I realized that all of a sudden my jeans weren’t fitting anymore and my shirts were just a little too snug for comfort. It dawned on me that my metabolism came to a standstill since I stopped breastfeeding and it was starting to catch up to me. I knew that if I wasn’t careful, I’d slowly but surely continue to put on weight (because let’s face it, I wasn’t eating all that great either).

Present Day.

I remembered back to my days of going to the gym and how great it made me feel and I wanted a little piece of that again. But as a work-at-home mom, I didn’t know how to make it happen. My daughter wasn’t already going to daycare, so I couldn’t just drop her off and head to the gym before starting work for the day. I knew I would have to squeeze something in very early in the morning, before my husband left for work, or late in the day after he was home.

Five years ago, I would get up at the crack of dawn (I am a morning person anyway), get to the gym shortly after it opened, and I’d work out for 30-60 minutes. So I tried that again. But it wasn’t the same. This time around I had to get up early enough to get to the gym as it was opening (not shortly after), work out for no more than 30 minutes, and hightail it back home before my husband had to leave for work. The whole experience stressed me out more than anything, constantly worrying that I’d be late getting home. I think I went twice before calling it quits.

The only thing left to me was the evenings, my least favorite time of day to work out. In the end I wasn’t really interested in having to go all the way to the gym, I didn’t want to waste precious minutes driving somewhere when I had so few minutes to begin with.

So the search began for something I could do at or near my home. The logical and most obvious answer was running. Ugh! I hate running! Those of you who have known me for a while (or my entire life if you’re my parents) have probably heard me utter the phrase “I don’t run” on more than one occasion. I actually have a hate-hate relationship with running. I hate it and it hates me. I’ve never enjoyed the act of running because not matter what I do, or don’t do, every time I run I get a horrible side ache. This special, hate-hate relationship goes all the way back to kindergarten when I had to run the Jog-n-Log mile race for gym class. But it wasn’t just a one-time thing. No! We had to practice for weeks before hand. And to top it off, anyone who ran the mile in seven minutes or less got an official Jog-n-Log ribbon. Needless to say I never earned one of those ribbons.

But I digress.

Running was the last thing I wanted to embark on, but it just made the most sense for my current lifestyle. So one day in early summer I decided to just go for it. I’d start small and run to the end of the street and back (less than a ½ mile). Unbeknownst to me, I had actually picked one of the hottest and most humid days of the summer. It was horrible and I didn’t run again.

Then later in the summer, the Iowa City Moms Blog announced they were having their annual Blogger Dash 5K race to raise money for the UI Children’s Hospital. My interest was piqued. Then my friend Katie casually suggested we train together for the race. I couldn’t stand up to the peer-pressure friendly suggestion, so I immediately said yes. I just hoped I would survive!

Some of the C25K training group
Some of the C25K training group

At about this same time, ICMB’s one and only Shari came up with a plan to do a Couch to 5K (C25K) training and I jumped on the bandwagon. I started out really strong, and worked my way through 4 weeks of the training, running every other day. Then I hit a wall and stalled out for about a week. When I tried to pick back up with week five, I felt like I was being tortured! It took all of my will power and mental capabilities to keep myself going on Week 5 Day 1. To help me through the 30 minute session (that felt like an eternity) I resorted to using techniques I learned to help get through the labor and delivery process – focus on one spot, even breathing, and knowing it would all be over soon!

In the end, I made it through Week 6 Day 1 of the C25K training and felt anything but ready for the Blogger Dash! But I had committed to doing it and wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

My goals for the race evolved over time. My first goal was easy, register for and start training for the race. Then my goal changed to show up for and finish the race – knowing I’d walk for at least part of the race. As soon as I crossed the starting line, my goal changed once again. Now I was bound and determined to RUN the entire time.

Just steps away from the finish line!
Just steps away from the finish line!

Forty-two minutes after starting, I RAN across the finish line, completing my first ever 5K race! I accomplished all my goals, including running the entire time. I didn’t let the fact that I was the slowest runner get me down, or the fact that two walkers passed me! All I cared about was the fact that I was running, actually RUNNING, a 5K and that I was going to cross the finish line that way. If you had asked me last spring if I would ever run a 5K, I would have laughed in your face and said “absolutely not!” Today, not only have I completed one 5K, but I’m also registered to run another one, which will take place three days from the day I’m writing this!

 

Thank you Iowa City Moms Blog, not only for allowing me to share my mom-life as a contributing writer, but also for hosting the 5K that got me off my butt and running!

Let this be a lesson to all of us! We can do more than we think we can, but it might require going outside of our comfort zone!

Becky is a Minnesota Native and Wisconsin Badger fan living in the heart of Hawkeye Country. Since graduating from high school, she has lived in Duluth, MN; Birmingham, UK; Minneapolis, MN; Louisville, KY; and Madison, WI, but is now happy to call Iowa City home. She and her husband have been married for ten years and have a spirited four-year-old daughter and a mischievous baby boy. Becky juggles working from home and keeping two kids happy each and every day. In her free time, she enjoys working her side business, spending time with friends, relaxing with a good book, and eating snacks.

2 COMMENTS

  1. So proud of you & me 🙂 & all the other C25k-er who put our running shoes on, stepped out of our comfot zone & set a goal for ourselves! Finishing that race was an AMAZING feeling! My training was quite similar to yours! I wanted to quit many times but pushed myself because I set the goal & our fb group helped hold me accountable! When it gets warm again I want to get back to running! Sorry folks I don’t love running enough to do it in the cold! Loved reading your story Becky & congrats to you on Two 5Ks!!

  2. what a great post, Becky!! You totally rocked it and I was so thankful to have you as a training partner! If I’m 100% honest, I was hoping you were going to say, “nah” when I asked if you’d train just so I had an easy out to be lazy. But you didn’t. And you got me back into a running routine! Without you as my accountability partner and the C25K group for encouragement I know I would’ve quit. So thank you, thank you. To both you and Shari for all of the motivation you gave me! I’m very grateful!!

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