Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm running a 5K tonight!

You should see my "edit posts" list. It's full of half-finished things that I started to write because I was the only one awake and thought it'd be a good time to gather my thoughts. Then the kids woke up and started fighting, the baby wanted me to nurse him, I had to go fix breakfast and then clean up after it, the phone rang... When I come back to half-written posts I often start wondering why I started writing them at all. Who wants to read it anyway? Does anyone care? Should I feel guilty for sitting here writing when the chores I should be doing are absolutely endless? That is how this, the patchiest season of my blog since I started it in 2007, happened.

There are some things I really want to remember, though, like how nervous-excited I am about tonight. It's New Year's Eve and tonight I'm running a 5K! I've run one before. A few, actually, but I was 14 years old. At least one of them sucked, BIG TIME. The one that was really awful I ran as the slowest competing member of our high school cross country team. It was at a nearby school with a confusing course. It was like, "go around the track twice, through the nature trail, over that bridge, around the band field, back through the nature trail, around the school..." I can't find my way out of a wet paper bag. Damned if I can remember a bunch of detailed instructions when I am busy just trying to get enough oxygen to my muscles so I don't collapse. I lagged behind the other runners, and with no one to follow and no volunteers directing I had no idea where I was going. It was so sad. I cried. I'm not sure if I ever finished that one. If I did, it took me a ridiculously long time.

The races got better and eventually I was keeping up with the others. When the season was over I realized what good shape I was in. It was awesome. I didn't go back the next season because I wanted to devote my time to Junior ROTC activities instead, and I haven't run a 5K since.

So here we are now. I am 27. I have had three babies and gained about 30 pounds since I was 14. If you had told me last year that my final act of 2011 would be to finish a 5K... No. That wasn't on my radar. I started running at the end of September because of a local running group called First Flight. The wonderful volunteers come out and run with us for free at a local track, leading us through a program similar to Couch to 5K. The first time I went was week three of the season. The longest we had to run without a walking break was three minutes, and I could barely do it. I started having bad knee pain, and though I finally did finish a 7K walk/run at the end of October, I had to take a long break after that. The chiropractor helped me get back to normal and I started back the next season. Two days ago I went to the track and ran almost exactly the length of the race, 3.1 miles, in under 36 minutes. Not fast. But when I think about what a struggle it was three months ago to run slow for just three minutes without stopping, this is a mountain I have climbed.

I want to do it so I can keep up with all the fun my kids want to have. I want to run with them someday. I want to be one of those 70-year-old women who is still running. It's also a challenge, something to be proud of, and a healthy addiction to replace the junk food that was there before. I've lost five pounds and a jean size since I started, and that's nice too, but my children are my main inspiration.

When I ran at 14 I had no frame of reference. It was pretty much the hardest thing I'd done up to that time. Now when I run I think about birth. I think, this is really hard. My legs are burning and my heart might beat out of my chest. I could just stop now and it would be a huge relief. But then I look at my watch. I remember the intensity of waiting for my babies, the amazing work looming ahead of me and not knowing how long it would last. I gazed off, zoned out, got it done. If I could do that, I know I can finish a run.

The race starts at 11:00 tonight. At the finish line there will be Jordan taking my picture and Baby Bobber ready to nurse and once I get home we will drink champagne and celebrate resolutions begun before the ball ever dropped. I will have done it and it's going to be amazing. Deep breaths. I can do this. And I'm not going to get lost this time, either.


Anonymous said...

Good for you, Jenny! And, yes, I care of you continue to blog because I really enjoy reading it
!!! You inspire me to journal more...and now to run more as well. Crystal G.

Kacie said...

Well?? How did it go? What an awesome way to end 2011.