Today is race day for me. I don’t normally race two weekends in a row, but last week’s race was a postponement from a few weeks prior.
But here’s the kicker: you know what I caught myself saying yesterday to myself?
“It’s only a 5k.” Whoa. How far I have come, my friends.
I haven’t run a 5K race since November’s Veteran’s Day race. After that I did a 5 mile Thanksgiving Day race, a 10K in early January in NYC, and then last week’s 4 mile Sweetheart run. How is that for freaky?
Although I have been running since September 2011, I let myself fall out of training over last summer, due to heat and travel and frankly, laziness. It’s hard to get yourself up out of bed at 5am to run, which was the only time good runs were happening in my world. By September, I was so far off the grid that when I ran a totally flat 5K on 9/9, I struggled just to finish. I didn’t walk any of it, but when I crossed the finish line it was at 40:03, my second slowest ever (my slowest being my first 5K, which included three monster hills….so this was probably on par).
I knew then that I had a choice. I could either let this running thing go, or I could not.
And I chose not.
A few weeks after that, after some regular runs and a little more commitment on my part, I attended FitBloggin’. That totally re-energized my commitment. I had been thinking things like I was too fat to run. That this was silly, my slow 12:25 miles were for losers. That I shouldn’t bother at all because I was so slow and so chubby.
But it was at Fitbloggin’ that I realized runners come in all shapes and sizes. That it didn’t matter sometimes if I was dead last. Because dead last means you finished. And finishing is a damn sight better than all of those who don’t even bother to try. I was inspired by these women who looked like me who were conquering all sorts of amazing fitness goals. I learned that it didn’t matter how long it takes you to get to a healthier place, but that every step along the way is a step in the right direction. Kind of like the title here, “mostly” forward. Sometimes you move a little backwards. But as long as you’re moving mostly forward, it’s good. It’s life. It’s good.
So today I will run a 5K with 2500 other people in New Haven. I will enjoy every minute of my in the back of the pack race. And at the end, they’ll hand me a beer, which I will use to toast myself. Because I did it. I finished. And I will keep finishing again, and again, and again.