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At the beginning of this year, my good friend, Cara, and I established a goal of running a marathon together (someday). Lacking the initiative to begin training, we set out to run 5Ks and ran our first one together in June of 2017. Having been my first official 5K, I was a little unsure of what to expect and whether or not my body could actually physically handle it! To say it was a successful load of fun would truly be an understatement. In fact, it was such a success and so rewarding that I decided to embark on another 5K last weekend!
Here’s what I have noticed about running 5Ks:
The environment is unlike any other. You arrive with both so much excitement and apprehension. If you’re like me, you ignore the suggestion to arrive two hours early and get there with little time to spare before your run wave. You’re frantically looking for the check-in tent and observing others doing the same. This is when it gets interesting. As the race time nears, you begin to notice that you are among hundreds of other individuals who share the same goal: finish this race! For some, it’s their first race. For others, they’ve lost count. As you begin running, you realize that for the duration of this run, you are experiencing something that has become so lost in today’s society. You become surrounded by hundreds of strangers who are so supportive of YOU. A runner yells behind you “Good job, girl!” or “We can do this, let’s go!” When was the last time you felt truly supported by the stranger walking next to you in the grocery store? The driver beside you on the road? A co-worker at work? That’s what is so amazing about running a 5K. You get to experience what should be occurring in everyday society: Support.
As if communal support isn’t enough to get you up and running, would a truly judgment-free zone get you motivated? Many of us have experienced what it’s like to step into a gym and feel like all eyes are on you. Gyms claim they’re judgment free, yet you can’t help but feel as if the person across from you lifting a 75-pound bar is judging you for your eight-pound dumbbells. Here’s where my love for 5Ks is introduced. When I’m running and need a five-second break, I don’t feel as if the runners behind me are judging me for my inability to push through. I don’t feel like all eyes are beaming on me or that every step I take is being judged or ridiculed by a passerby who has clearly trained more effectively than I have. Instead, I hear, “You’re doing great!”
The bottom line here is that 5K participants all have their individual goals: to run nonstop for 20 minutes, finish the race in 35 minutes, beat an old finishing time. The concern when you’re running is not what other people are doing, it’s about what you’re doing and how you can support others who embarked on this 3.1 mile journey with you! When you cross the finish line, you’re overwhelmed with a flood of adrenaline and gratitude for your ability to physically participate in such an amazing experience, and you silently acknowledge those who can’t. You look around at all the participants with their well-deserved medals and beam with pride. It doesn’t matter whether you walked or ran across that finish line, all that matters is that YOU did it!
I truly hope you enjoyed reading this snapshot of my experiences running 5Ks. If you’ve ever contemplated running a 5K or if it’s on your bucket list, I say go for it! Nobody defines whether you run or walk, your finishing time, etc. The joy is, YOU decide. Go accomplish that goal, and do it for YOU!
Thank you so much for reading and for your continued support! Stay tuned for the second blog post in Sit, Stay, & Blog’s service dog training series, “What It Means To: Train a Service Dog (Going Into Public)!” Please feel free to leave me comments or suggestions for future posts, and don’t forget to like/follow Sit, Stay, & Blog on Facebook and Twitter! 🙂