Let’s start off with a little tale.
Once upon a time, there was a tall, gangly, awkward girl in the eighth grade. She hated running with a vehement passion. Every other year, since the second grade, she had been forced into running a mile in gym class for the physical fitness test. Every other year, the girl found herself plodding around the soccer field, hating her life, despising the stopwatch at the end, and wishing she, like her classmates, could run four laps without pausing to walk. The eighth grade was the last year she was subjected to this torture and she completed said mile in a whopping eleven minutes and six seconds.
The girl never ran of her own free-will again.
As with all interesting things in my life lately, this idea spewed from Pinterest. I stumbled across The Color Run and thought to myself, If I was ever to do a 5k, this would be it.
A few months later, one of my housemates mentioned that she and her friends were forming a team to run in the New England Color Run at the end of July and would I like to join her?
I’m not sure what possessed me to say yes. I hate running. I hate it. Sometimes people assume that because I’m generally an athletic person due to dance that I can run just as well as the next guy.
I registered in March without too much worry, it wasn’t until July after all.
But after graduation rolled around and I found myself back at home, I realized that in two short months I would be expected to run 3.1 miles and not make a fool of myself. A friend pointed me to the Couch to 5k Workout, which I began with a little trepidation.
Week after week went by, and I stuck to my workout schedule. Three days a week I could be found running around my circular street at regular intervals.
When I arrived at Week 5 of the training, I ventured out of my street into the public. I started doing my runs around my neighborhood, now that I was feeling more confidant.
After my big move, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a good running route, but I did, and all of a sudden I found myself running for an unprecedented 2o, 25, and 30 minutes straight. Long gone was the 11 minute mile girl, here was someone new! A…dare I say it?…runner.
Today, my alarm clock went off at 5:30am. This was it. The big day. The Color Run.
I donned my white, packed a backpack, ate a big breakfast, and hopped in the car.
Four hours later, I was surrounded by 11,000 people, clad in white. We were feet from the starting line and everyone chorused, “Five! Four! Three! Two! ONE!”
And I was off! I was running! I passed through one color station, another, a third! This wasn’t so bad! I was making good time! But the hills were killer, killer I tell you! When the third sloping monster arrived I started to question whether I’d be able to make it to the end of the run without stopping to walk (goal #1), let alone doing it in under thirty minutes (goal #2).
I pressed on, pushing myself, knowing I could do the three miles I’d done just the other day in training. I checked my timer, 23 minutes. Just seven more minutes, just seven more.
I passed another color station and pressed onward up another towering hill.
Spectators lined the route, cheering and clapping, holding out palms for high fives as we passed. Suddenly there were a rather lot of spectators. I wondered what was so special about this part of the route, it wasn’t particularly residential…there were still five minutes to go.
But suddenly I turned a corner and there it was: The Finish Line.
If you know me at all, it will not surprise you that I burst into tears. I ran up, past the finish line, sobbing, tangled in my iPod, covered in color and sweat. I had done it, my first 5k. Complete!
When my friend finished the run moments after me, she informed me that her running app measured the route at only 2.77 miles instead of the 3.1 of a true 5k, which explained why I finished in a staggering 25 minutes and 13 seconds. I mean I expected to run well, but shaving off five minutes seemed a little excessive.
After we caught our breath it was time for the real fun. We joined thousands of other color runners in a paint party where we were absolutely caked in color. It took several shampooings to get my hair back into a clean state.
My friend says she’s starting Couch to 10k this week, now that she’s done the 5k. I don’t know…six miles is quite far. Then again, I never would have thought I could have done three…