Monday, March 31, 2014

Run a 5k in 6 Weeks?!?

Written By: Claire Sheehan

1st day of Training
Two weeks into the new year and I finally came up with a New Year’s Resolution….I want to make 2014 the year I become a runner. I had run some here and there in the past, but mainly because my Aunt made me. Oddly enough I have always had a dream of running a half marathon, yet I never pushed myself to get out there and make it happen.  After recently moving to Bend, where the vast majority of the population has at least one go-to outdoor sport they are addicted to, I realized I needed to choose one for myself.

So, I aimlessly started searching Google for activities to do in Bend and I cameacross the FootZone website. I had visited this site before and dreamed about the day I would join one of their several weekly FREE group runs. I admired anyone who could just head downtown to FootZone and confidently run the 3-5 miles planned while possibly not knowing anyone in the group.

I wanted to be that person. I wanted to not only be confident enough, but able to run 3-5 miles on a regular basis as well. So, three weeks into the New Year I clicked “join” and paid the fee to join the Couch to 5k training group. BAM! It was done; I was going to become a runner!!! Then, as I was printing the receipt I realized what I had just done. I had signed up to join a group where I assumed I would not know ANYONE and I would train to run 3.1 miles with them. All of a sudden I freaked out and was already dreading the next 5 days until Saturday. Thoughts just flew across my brain….What do runners wear? Do I even own a good sports bra? What do I eat before I go? Can I drink coffee? What if I’m the only one that shows up? What if I am the oldest person there? What if I am the youngest person there? What if I’m the slowest person there? Do I even have time to train for this?
LOADS of questions and different scenarios popped into my mind. The next thing I knew it was Saturday morning and my alarm clock was going off! AAHH! The day had come and it was a COLD one, 18 degrees cold! So I made myself believe that the first day we would meet at FootZone and just talk about running and the training program. I figured because it was so cold and we were new to the running world that they would not make us go outside and actually run. So with those thoughts in mind, I was able to get up and get ready quickly! I even arrived 20 minutes early and sat in the store with a few of the mentors.

Crossing the 5k Finsh Line
As people started coming in, I was relieved to see the diversity in the group. There were children joining with their parents, grandmothers, men and women of all different shapes, sizes, and ages! Just as I had assumed this morning, we all sat around with our lead trainer, Michelle, and introduced ourselves. I felt extremely calm and elated that I had joined this group AND showed up that first day : ) Michelle then talked to us about some various things running related. I figured this would continue for a bit before we’d get our training schedules and meet back next week for our first run. Man, was I WRONG! Michelle wrapped up her talk and proceeded to tell us we were going on our first run. Nerves came flooding back but I had no way out so I had to proceed. “Here goes nothing” I said to myself and followed the group outside.

Our workout for the day was to jog 1 minute, walk 1 minute 10x.  While we did our workout we talked to each other and started bonding and achieving the common goal which was to become a runner. I had such a high once the first day was over I knew I had made the right decision. I took my running calendar home and started scheduling my runs for the upcoming week. Each week we increased our jogging time and lessened the walking time. Looking at the schedule it seemed to be small increases but in the training it was scary and exciting to meet each Saturday and watch my goal of becoming a runner come true. The weekly workouts included days of just walking, rest, and some jogging with walking. It was easy to maintain and actually fun to do! I was literally able to see my progress each week I increased my running time.

Everyone deserves to experience this!
Six weeks after that first Saturday of running 1 minute at a time we were running a 5k! A 5k is 3.1 miles ladies and gentlemen, 3.1 miles. To be able to complete that in 6 weeks was a HUGE accomplishment and I am so proud of all of us that persevered and completed the 5k! The feeling I had crossing that finish line was an out of body experience, I felt invincible! I instantly flashbacked to that first day and how far all of us had come and was so proud of not only myself but of everyone that finished! That feeling alone keeps me going even now, weeks later. It is the feeling that gets me up early in the morning or off the couch to go run. I set a goal and I achieved it and that is something I hope everyone has the opportunity to do!

Not only did this class push me outside of my comfort zone and help me achieve a goal of becoming a runner but introduced me to incredible people who I have become friends and continue to run with. All of the mentors were amazing, keeping us positive and passing on their running experiences to us.  Michelle, our leader is one of the most inspirational women I have ever met and has a gift of making everyone feel at ease. She can channel her confidence onto others which is a rare talent. All in all I hope you see that anyone can set a goal and achieve it….even if that goal is to become a runner : ) 

We just ran a 5k in the SNOW, bring on the coffee!
Special thanks to Bluebird Coffee for hosting us!

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