(or: Why Resting on your Laurels only merits Big Fat Laurels)
This past week I began training for a 10km race. No, really. I did. And, while this has nothing to do per se with weddings, it has to do with me and my personal fitness level and well-being. And, since I’m getting married & this is my blog, it has to do with weddings (not a bad reach, eh?)

Run for the Cure 2009: the Sequel. It wasn’t official. It wasn’t fast. But it did garner my PR thus far: 5km in 35 minutes. And, YES, I’m damn proud.

My ‘career’ (and I couldn’t use that word more loosely) began 2 years ago when I decided for some ungodly reason that I was going to run a 5K. I chose the CIBC Run for the Cure and then set about trying to run. Easier said than done for a zaftig girl who couldn’t run for longer than 30 seconds without getting winded & nearly crippling herself. Enter: the Couch to 5k. This program changed my life. For real. I’ve said that countless times in the past (most often in jest) but when I say it now, I couldn’t be more earnest. I’m really not sure what prompted the notion to try running. Whatever the impetus was, though, I’m grateful for it. And Robert Ullrey gets a huge virtual High Five for putting together & posting the free podcast (that still lives on my iPod to this day, actually) I used to make it through without serious injury or hospitalization.
I went from sucking serious wind after 30 seconds of running to completing a full 5km run all in one go. I ran slowly (still do) but make no mistakes, I RAN the full distance. No walksies.
That was in October of 2008. What did I do during the off-season of that year (winter 2008/09), after such a remarkable breakthrough, you may ask? Nothing. Nada. Yep. I sat on my arse and watched it expand. I also, effectively, put myself back at ground zero. All that sweating and panting to be able to run 5km and I sat on my laurels and let it all go to seed. So when the running season of 2009 rolled around (and I thought I’d be right where I left off), I was rudely thumped back to reality when I could barely make it through a St. Paddy’s Day 5km Run (there were walksies.)

~ I Run Because I Can
It’s an adage I’ve seen on T-shirts and read countless times in Runner’s World Magazine. At first it didn’t mean much to me, beyond a bit of wanky power-of-positive-thinking self- aggrandizement. But, then last March, I took part in the Achilles St. Patty’s Day 5km run and had the full scope of that statement demonstrated for me in living colour.
The Achilles Run is an annual event that raises funds for physically challenged runners. Now, I’d known about deaf or blind runners running with guides in order to stay on course. But I had NO idea the tenacity and spirit that was embodied in some of the other athletes who benefited from this organization. As per their website, they welcome runners with “…cerebral palsy, paraplegia, arthritis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, amputation, cystic fibrosis, or those who suffer from stroke, cancer, traumatic head injury, and many others.” Pretty much quashes any “oh, but I’m too old, fat, (insert excuse here)” whining any of us can come up with, doesn’t it?
I’d been feeling pretty sorry for myself and the slowness with which I crossed the finish line (really, what did I expect, I barely ran at ALL for months), but when I was passed by a runner with no feet (yes, you read correctly: No Feet) I knew that there really was no excuse I could come up with that would hold any amount of water. Granted, that epiphany didn’t quite hit me immediately. It took a few more runs followed by some pretty whiny, self-indulgent self-pitying because my thinner and more fit girlfriends were finishing with far better times than I. Well, of COURSE they were! They’re in better shape and they trained harder. Duh!
Then I figured out the Zen of Running. No great spiritual realization hit. I simply (and finally) figured out & eliminated the stressor that seemed to follow me on every single run: Time. If I ran at a pace even 2 seconds slower on Monday than I had on Saturday, I beat myself up over it… for days. Where’s the enjoyment in that? Well, exactly – there wasn’t any. So I started running and leaving my watch at home. And guess what? I started to LOVE running. Do I still care about times? Well, sure – who doesn’t want to improve upon something they enjoy. I just don’t obsess over it anymore. Battles are meant to be chosen carefully. You pick one all willy nilly and you will have your ass handed to you. I spent the majority of my life excelling in the art of couch potato-ing. So I know that, in order for me to succeed at running in any capacity, it needs to be done in tiny, wee baby steps. I can only win one battle at a time. And that’s fine by me.
Right now – I can run 5km and not die. That, in and of itself, is pretty impressive considering my starting ground. I have a respectable number of 5km finishes under my belt and I’m proud of each and every one. Now the prize I’m eyeing is crossing a 10km finish line. I don’t expect it to be fast. I don’t expect it to be easy. But I do expect to do it with a metric tonne of pride.

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One Response to “Nothing worth having comes easy”

  1. Confessions of an eBay Bride » Blog Archive » Hip Hip Hooray: I ran a 10K! Says:

    […] anyone tried to tell me that I would one day run a 10k, get blisters on my pinkie toes so bad that I would spend an entire afternoon limping around like […]

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