So 2013 has been all about finding myself as a runner. I wouldn’t call myself an athlete, but I would say I make athletic attempts on a fairly frequent basis. I was involved in gymnastics and softball as a child, I did swimming in high school and always signed up for the club teams with my college sorority. So needless to say, my athletic attempts have been many. Growing up, a couple of my cousins were runners in local events, I even went to cheer them on. Through all their attempts, running was the one sport I just couldn’t get my brain to focus on. Personally, I think it was the solo aspect of the sport. I find that I am much more of a team athlete. I thrive on the enthusiasm and encouragement from my teammates, and even the jeers from the opposing teams (yes, I played adult kickball a few times). But running has always been a goal of mine. Every few years I make solid attempts at overcoming the obstacles in my way, and yes those obstacles would be myself and my individual runner focus.
Well, towards the end of 2012 I made the decision that 2013 would be the year I became a runner. I started with the C25k (via the run double app: www.rundouble.com) and even signed up for my first 5k in April – the JFK Runway 5k (www.jfkrunwayrun.org)! I was doing it, I was going to become a runner. I found a local running store (www.runnersedgeny.com) and got fitted for sneakers, I even bought all the clothes I felt would help me succeed. I downloaded a music app to run to, and finally joined a gym. I was going to do this!
I completed 6 weeks of the C25k before my first 5k and I was content with that. I was determined to cross that first 5k finish line no matter what it took. And, well, wouldn’t you know it – I did just that. It wasn’t the best 5k in the world, but it was my starting point, my new benchmark. I could only go up (or down) from here. I finished with a time of 44:17 and was damn proud of that. The wind was brutal, it was April on a wide open airport runway after all – there would of course be strong gusts up and down the runway. It was rough and it was hard, but at the end, tired and slightly beaten, I was proud of my accomplishment, I was proud of running across that finish line.
Along the way, back and forth of that runway, I discovered something else about running – it is a ‘team’ sport, just maybe not your standard ‘team’ definition. Everyone on that course is your teammate, everyone around you is cheering you on and encouraging you finish that race, to cross that finish with everything you’ve got, because that is what we are all there for. We help each other when we see someone faltering, we pick each other up with just one high five, smile or cheer along the course, we are team and for me that is enough to keep me going, to keep me looking forward to more races, to pushing myself to be better each time, and to keep crossing that finish line!
JFK Airport still had planes landing right over our heads! Can you imagine what the passengers must have been thinking?
Exhausted, but I finished, and in the end – crossing that finish line is really what it’s all about!