In October 2008 I was overweight but semi-active. A friend I worked with, Jodi, had walked The Middle Half, a local half marathon, and brought her medal into work to show us. I decided right then and there that I was going to walk The Middle Half in 2009! I set out a few weeks later, with my friend, Julia, and started training to walk the next year! Well, first I should mention that Jodi hates it when I tell people how she inspired me to start walking and eventually running because she says she hasn't done anything since, however, it is what it is Jodi. You did inspire me to start and there's nothing you can do about that! And, I thank you to this day for that inspiration!!! Sadly, the second is that Julia dropped out of training shortly after we started. Maybe I can inspire her to get out and start again soon!
As I trained over the next couple of months on the treadmill after work and the neighborhood on the weekends, I slowly realized that I couldn't walk fast enough to complete the half marathon in the alotted time. The Middle Half has a required finish time of 3 hours 30 minutes which averages out to about 16 minutes per mile. I was managing about 17:30 and that was only for 3 miles! When I mentioned this to Jodi she suggested that I try run/walking it. See, it was her that got me started!!!! So, one day while walking on the treadmill at lunch I was bored and decided that I would try running. I ran for 30 seconds and then walked again. I was motivated by this 30 seconds. It was hard, I'm not going to lie! But, I did it and continued to walk and then I did it again! So, when people ask me how I started running, it literally was 30 seconds at a time! And, I'm proud of it!
I spent several afternoons on the treadmill doing this until finally I got the confidence to run outside. Now today I have my fancy Garmin that I keep track of pace, intervals, heart rate, etc. When I started I had my iPod nano for music and that was it. So, when I started running outside I would run a song and walk a song. Eventually I ran two songs, walked a song and so on and so on. My confidence grew and I signed up for the Howl at the Moon 5k in La Vergne, TN. This was in the middle of August but it was a night run so it wouldn't be so hot. I trained for a couple of months for this race. The week of the 5k, the most I had ran without stopping was 2 miles! My only goal for this 5k was to run it without stopping.
I was really nervous on the day of the race! My friends, Wendy and Julia, went with me for support! And my friend, Mulanda promised to show up later; he had soccer practice (he's a coach) and couldn't be there at the start.
In the registration line.
Wendy pinning my number on because I was too nervous!
I was so nervous, everyone else seemed to know what they were doing! So, I walked around to warm up...
Then I headed to the start line! An amazing thing happened at the start line! I found out how great other runners can be. I can still remember exactly what I said that made Rachel laugh and turn around. Julia said she was going to get a picture of me going across the start line and I said "that'll be a great picture of my a$$!" Rachel turned around and laughed. We've been friends ever since, and I consider her to be one of my best friends to this day! Look closely to the left of me and you'll see Rachel, Alfred, Kingston and Jodi. Okay, well you can't see Kingston in his stroller in this picture, but trust me, he is there! (I should mention this is not the Jodi that inspired me to start but rather a new friend I met at this race!)
I ran the first half of the race with Jodi (Alfred and Rachel were way ahead of us!). She talked the entire time! I always enjoyed my runs with Jodi and I hope that we get out there and run again soon!
The route was an out and back, which is not my favorite but I didn't really even know what that meant at the time! Jodi and I ran together until the water stop. She stopped for water and I kept going. With about a mile left in the race I found Mulanda. He was standing behind the cop stopping traffic at an intersection and joined me on that last mile. He had just finished coaching his girls soccer team and had enough energy to run up the hill backwards while putting his earphones in his ears and then shadow boxing! Show-off! But, I was touched that he was there to support me! He talked me through that last mile, and I did manage to run the whole thing! Here I am running towards the finish line with Mulanda cheering my on!
And check out the clock; my first 5k was in the books with a finish time of 39:05!
It was an awesome night with old friends and new!
Talking to my new running buddies after the race! Jodi, Rachel & Alfred.
See, I told you Kingston was there!
Okay, okay, I know... I veered way off course! I'm supposed to be talking about my first sub-30 5k achievement, but, I'm not sure you can fully understand how much it means to me unless you know how I started, and the long journey it took to get there! I'll continue the journey in my next post!
P.S. All photos taken by my good friend Julia Loya! I'm hoping she hits up a few more races to document those as well!