I’ve always hated exercise. For as long as anyone can remember, I’ve complained about doing it. So it came as a surprise to many – including my wife – when I started running this spring. As soon as it started getting warmer (defined as “anything above freezing”), I started getting up early in the morning (another surprise to many – I’m not a morning person) to go for runs using the Couch-to-5K method. C25K, as it is known, claims to be able to get a couch potato ready to run a 5K in just nine weeks. Sounds great, but I must not have been the couch potato they were thinking of, because it has taken me a lot longer than nine weeks. The first few weeks were really difficult after being so out of shape, and I had to repeat the runs in the first couple of weeks frequently until I felt comfortable with them, and I even had to start over once after developing bursitis in one knee from trying to push myself too hard initially. But I knew I needed to keep going – I have two little girls that need me to be around for a long time time to come, and the only way I can make that happen is by getting off my duff and getting in shape. So I persisted. I found ways to work around a crazy work schedule this summer and the exhaustion that resulted, and I kept going through the heat waves in July. I haven’t given up, even though it would have been so easy to do at times, even though I’m months behind where I theoretically should have been by now. And my persistence is finally paying off. On Saturday, over five months after I started this “nine week” program, I ran the third day of “week five”, a twenty minute run with no breaks – about 2-1/2 miles. I’ve never done anything close to that before. It feels great!
But I’m not done yet. I still have more than three weeks of the training to go, and frankly, I’m just getting comfortable with the running (and I’m actually starting to like it!). I needed to give myself an incentive to see this through, so that’s exactly what I did.
On September 17, one month from today, I’m going to run a 5K. I’m running in the Hope and Hearts Run in Minneapolis, in memory of my nephew Elias, who was stillborn on March 7, 2008, and in honor of my two daughters, Eva and Hannah, who I couldn’t imagine life without.
I have no illusions that I’ll finish first. I may not even finish in the top half of the runners. But I’m going to start the race, and I will finish it. And to me, that is really something.
[Shameless plug: The Hope and Hearts Run is a fundraiser for the Missing GRACE Foundation, which provides support and resources for families who have lost a child in infancy. My brother and his family have been participating in the event since 2008, and I’m honored to be able to lend my support this year. If you can, please help me support this very worthwhile charity.]