Five years ago, I embarked on this thing called running. I’ve continued to run since. This year, I made a promise to myself to try to run a 10K, just to see if I could.
I started training in September. I’ve been running 3 miles a couple days a week all this year, so it was just a matter of slowly ramping up to 6 miles, right? It turned out that it was not as simple as I had thought it was going to be. I was not expecting to have a problem with metabolism– I lost weight in my first two weeks of training and was worried that I was losing too much too soon. It took me a few more weeks to figure out how to modify my diet so that my blood sugar wasn’t bouncing between extremes. Despite what my stomach told me, I was in no position to eat whatever I wanted– moderation and a variety of foods were the best course of action.
The physical part of running was actually the easiest part– the hardest part was the mental game. The training program I used had me alternating between walking and running to start out with, and my mind kept whining at me, “Can we walk now? huh? How about now? Why aren’t we walking?” I had to will my mind to shut up. Once I got into longer stretches of running, my mind then kept telling me to quit after 3 miles. “This is all you can do– stop,” it would say. “No,” I said to myself, “I have more to run.” “Aw, come on, you’re getting tired. Stop.” and on and on. I was getting annoyed at my mind.
Finally, the day came for the race. I picked a big one to start– the MCM 10K. I figured it would already be cool by then and that I would run in crisp fall weather. Nope– it was warm and it rained the entire race. But you know what? Working against the rain proved to help me– I was so focused on the weather that I didn’t realize how long I had run until I looked up and saw the 4-mile marker. I felt surprisingly good.
Unfortunately, I got over-confident and went a little faster than I should have in mile 5, and then hit the wall as I approached mile 6. I grit my teeth and pushed the rest of the way across the finish line. The finish was not as strong as I would have liked, but I finished. I did it!
Five years ago, if you had told me that I would be running a 10K, I would have said no way. But I proved to myself that with persistence and steady work, I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. The trick is to keep going.