My Bucket List
1. Attend the Kentucky Derby and wear a big hat.
2. Go to Rome, Italy.
3. Go to every major league ballpark and attend a game.
5. Run a 5K.
6. Have someone award me a big check (like the ones Ed McMahon awarded)
7. Go to Napa Valley.
8. Write a novel.
9. Write a best-selling novel.
10. Take all my daughters to Vegas for their 21st birthdays.
11. Have dinner and drinks with the Swishers.
So, I finally made a bucket list about a year ago. For the longest time, I only had ten items on the list, but then Nick and Joanna Swisher moved to town, and I am convinced we should be BFF’s. These are items that I know will make me feel complete; they will make me feel accomplished; they are items that will make me feel alive.
This past Spring, after staring at the list for a year, I decided I needed to work toward crossing something off the list. Many of my items require a certain monetary comfort that I do not feel at present. However, a few do not. The one that seemed the most attainable was to try to run a 5K.
I know, I know. Those of you who followed “The Year of the Blog” know how much I have written about my detest of running. I have berated the activity, chastised those with 26.2 stickers, and scoffed at anyone and everyone who has ever complained of shin splints. Yet, something deep in my core kept speaking to me: You should try it! You could do it! You should run, too.
Then in March, I saw an advertisement for The Color Run. I had heard of it– it is an event where you get doused in colors as you run the course. I looked at the gallery of pictures– the smiles and laughter on the runners’ faces, and I thought, Yes! Yes! If I have to run– I want it to be fun. Of course, a race that totes itself “The Happiest 5K on the Planet” could not let me down?
I texted two of my friends, Amy and Tara. Amy and Tara are marathon runners, yet I have never been intimidated by what they can do, and they have never made me feel ashamed for what I cannot. On the contrary, for the past five years, these two friends have seen the potential in me. They have seen my athletic abilities lying dormant, and they have wanted for me to accept a challenge. I have felt like I have wanted to challenge myself. However, to commit to running a 5K, I wanted their support; no, I needed it. I texted that if they would sign up with me, I would run this 5K. Within three days, we were all signed up.
Perfect! All I needed to do was to train!
I downloaded an ease into 5K program, and
begrudgingly started to run. The first few workouts were brutal. I did not think I would ever be able to run for five minutes in a row, no less get myself to a point of running 3.2 miles. How do people do it? My legs hurt, my heart muscle burned, my breathing was so labored I could barely think. Yes, in those first two weeks, I wanted to abandon running more than once, but I knew that I could not. My friends were counting on me.
I trained and trained and trained, and before I knew it, Saturday June 8 was upon me! I was about to race my first 5K! I met the girls at the location, and I felt a little sick to my stomach. Sure, I put a smile on my face and acted really excited to be apart of the group, but really, I felt like I do when I am standing in line for a roller coaster at Cedar Point. I know it is not scary. I know I should not be nervous, but I think, What the hell am I doing here?
Standing with my friends, I felt miserable, even though music was blaring and 8000 other runners were cheering and having a good time.
My nerves only lasted for a few minutes, we were herded across the starting line, and I realized, I was doing it! I was putting one foot in front of the other, and I was running. I was running because I had trained to run. I was running because I was accomplishing a goal. I was running because 8000 other people were running, and I knew I wanted to keep up.
In the end, I fell behind my friends, but I knew that was all right. They would reach the finish line before me, but the point was for me to finish.
When I finally did cross the finish line, they were waiting and cheering me on. So was Tom. He got up with me at 6AM and came to the race with me because he was proud of me for accomplishing this goal. It took me almost forty minutes. I was not fast. I did not break any records.
Yet, the momentum of the day and the accomplishment in itself was a life altering event. I had an amazing time with my friends and husband.
More importantly, I am finally able to cross something off my bucket list: at 43 years old, I ran my first 5K!