I never thought of myself as an athlete. When I was a kid I was often one of the last picked for teams (with a few muttered protests from my new teammates). And not only did every gym class showcase just how un-athletic I was, it also reinforced the idea that I was not meant to exercise.
But as an adult I wanted to run Race for the Cure 5K in honor of my mom. On my own I would go out and run (and gasp for oxygen) with old shoes bought off the rack on clearance. I had no coaching or encouragement from anyone other than my husband’s occasional pieces of advice. I didn’t know how far I should run, how many days a week I should run, or how many weeks in advance before the race I should start. But I figured if I could mostly run three miles before race day I’d be ready. It was always hard and never fun.
All I remember from that race is that I finished. I was happy that I did it for my mom but I felt very little feeling of accomplishment from it. My husband ran it with no training and beat me by ten minutes. Sigh.
But I was hooked.
Five marathons, countless half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks later I can say that I have definitely improved. I’ve come a long way from being an un-athletic kid to a runner. Granted, I am not an elite athlete nor do I look like one; but it is now who I am.
So what changed?
I joined a running group.
For someone like me who has never had a coach, I needed someone to give me guidance. I needed someone to tell me how far and when I should take those blessed walking breaks. I needed someone to teach me that I needed strength, flexibility and pair of good comfortable running shoes. And I really needed someone to expect me to show up and to be accountable. Being social has also been a very large part for me. I want someone running by my side when I’m having a bad day or to celebrate with when I’m having a good one. I look forward to hearing a funny story from a friend or to catch up on one another’s lives. The friendships that I have made through running have been the closest ones that I have. These people have seen me at my very worst and at my very best.
What do you have planned for 2015? Resolutions are often broken but what about a race that you’ve always wanted to do? As a mom of four, I’m busy (that’s an understatement). But taking the time to take care of me not only makes me a better mom but it lets my kids see me as more than just a mom. I’m an athlete. Taking 12 weeks to do something for yourself is good for your kids and your relationships.
Fleet Feet Sports offers training programs to run or walk your first 5K, 10K, half and full marathon. Already comfortable as a runner? How about our Winter Warriors or Speed Play programs? These training programs are cheaper than a personal coach but give you the guidance, injury prevention, group support, safety and strength training that you need to reach your goal.
People of all abilities, sizes and age are welcome. Being part of a team (maybe the first team you’ve been a part of that didn’t roll their eyes at you) is an invaluable experience.
The journey to the finish line is filled with life lessons and friendships, hard days and joyous ones. Reaching that finish line with a coach and a team may help you realize that you are capable of much more than you ever thought you were.
And, it just might change your life.
Come by Fleet Feet Sports at either our Madison or Sun Prairie locations Thanksgiving Fitnatic weekend (Friday-Sunday) to check out our training program info table. We’ll have details on our new program WINTER WARRIOR and we’ll be offering the best rate of the season on No Boundaries, Force of Orange and our new Speed Play ($65-$99 depending on the program)! Check out our training page for a complete description of each program.