Training for a 5K…or for life?

“Intention.” It’s a buzzword that I feel like has been floating around the blogging world for months now. (Yes, I still read despite not writing much. I would give credit to someone, but I know I’ve seen this topic on at least four different blogs.)

Living with intention, setting concrete goals, following through, having purpose in everything you do. Generally letting go of your fears, acknowledging what you want and how you need to get it, and then actually getting it, dammit.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past couple of months and have begun to put into practice.

Sometimes it takes a sangria-induced, tear-filled, self-discovery session with your best friend. Sometimes it takes a new job opportunity. Sometimes it takes seeing people who are happy in their life’s path. Sometimes it takes hearing enough of our friends talk about how they aren’t happy either.

And then sometimes all it takes is someone telling you that they believe in you. And you look in the mirror and you not only believe them, you start to believe in yourself too.

The most recent iteration of this process for me has been in the form of a physical challenge: running a 5k for the Race for the Cure this month.

I have always been active, I go to the gym all the time and I am definitely an endorphin junkie. But, and this but is almost as big as my butt, I have never been a runner. Ever. Laps in gym class? I dreaded them. Relay races in elementary school at sports day? No thank you.

But for this race, I am a runner. That is my intention.

The first day that my friend Lauren and I got together to train, I felt like I was going to die. While she was next to me on the treadmill cruising along without a problem, I was wheezing and had to slow down to walking every few minutes.

At the end of that training session, I said to her: “I’m crazy. I can’t do this. It’ll be a miracle if I finish.”

She didn’t falter. She told me I not only could, I would. She told me I did a great job. She told me it would only get easier going forward. She told me I was going to be a rock star. She told me she believed in me.

I shot down everything she was saying.

When I got home, I looked in the mirror and I saw what she saw. I could do this.

I texted her immediately to apologize for my bad attitude and to thank her for being my cheerleader. And I started to believe in myself the way she did.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been downright excruciating some days. There was the day I texted Kirsten after a run basically saying I was dying, while I was in tears on my bed with icepacks on my legs. And the three other days of similar feelings, minus the texts (but potentially plus a few tweets).

It’s been painful, disheartening at times and beyond annoying. But it’s something I am determined to do. Am I going to be able to run the whole thing? That remains to be seen. But I’m not crying after every workout now. Instead I am smiling, feeling accomplished, feeling confident.

And today, when I got home and was about to prepare for a fun with Laur, this was waiting for me:


My race shirt and flag! Eek! It's real!

I am going to do this. I may have never been a runner before, no matter how hard I tried, but now I have an endgoal. I have a finish line in sight. And I will cross it.

If I can conquer this challenge, I can conquer all the others. I can figure out the various finish lines I am running toward in the different areas of my life, and by living each day with those finish lines in mind, by living each day with intention, I will accomplish my goals. I will cross those finish lines. And I will feel amazing about it, as amazing as I am going to feel on October 23 when I cross that finish line.

Intention. I think it’s a word I’ll let stick around for a while.


4 thoughts on “Training for a 5K…or for life?

  1. I love this post! I feel the same way – started training in June for a 1/2 marathon this December, and I’ve never been a runner either. I’m still not quite a runner, but I can certainly cover some distance now. It’s been an emotional journey, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I bet you feel the same way. Race with pride that day, you’ve come so far and should be very proud. Enjoy your race day!!!

  2. You are ALREADY a rock star for signing up and raising money for a great cause! Don’t forget that 🙂 Anything that’s worth doing is going to be hard work, but I know you can do it! I mean, if running was so easy, we’d be signed up for the Baltimore Marathon next Saturday instead of this 5k. Change is often uncomfortable, but you ARE a runner now and running farther, faster, will only get easier with time. When I’m running, I like to tell myself, “I can run for this entire song I’m listening to. It’s only three minutes. Three minutes of my entire life. That’s a pretty short time, I can do it!” It’s really cheesy, but it helps me keep running until the next song, and then I challenge myself again (there’s my secret to cruising along, cat’s out of the bag! lol). Thank YOU for inspiring ME to challenge myself, too! I can’t wait to cross the finish line with you! 🙂

  3. If MY ass can finish a half marathon, you are going to ACE this 5K girlfriend. And it’s OK TO WALK. As I always I am so proud of you and in awe of how incredibly insightful you are. You can do it!

  4. Pingback: You’ll know exactly who you are… | What's shakin' in the real world

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