I Just Crossed #5 off of My Bucket List!

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.
4. Zipline.
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.

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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.

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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.

975061_10201639220808793_1871565541_nI 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.

974157_10201639698380732_352866050_nIn 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.

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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!

Spring Is Finally Here!

Today is just like yesterday, so this is going to be quick.

Yesterday, I got home from work, and I saw it.  Spring!  Kids were out riding their bikes.  Men and women were out running and walking their dogs.  People everywhere were working in their yards: pulling weeds, cutting lawns, and planting flowers.  I heard the sounds of Spring: laughter and excitement; lawn mowers and weed whackers.  I smelled it, too: fresh-cut grass and freshly planted flowers.  It was as if I had been transported to another perfect dimension, and it took all of my energy not to tear down the street screaming and jumping for joy.

Of course, before I could enjoy the warmth and the sunshine, I had to tend to the after school activities: I had to make sure all of the homework got completed and make sure the dinner got made.  Each minute I stood in the kitchen, I yearned to be outdoors.

Around six, when everything inside that needed to get done was done, I went outside.  Tom decided to cut the lawn and I pulled weeds and ran the weed whacker.  My God!  In an hour, our lawn and flowerbeds, in both the front and back, looked manicured and beautiful.  Of course I made a mental note of all the improvements I need to make this year.

At seven, I was so full of endorphins, that Carson and I decided to run.  We went through the Metroparks near our house and worked on training for our 5K.  After 36 minutes of alternating running and walking, our workout ended.  My muscles were the least sore that they have been since I began working out again, and my breathing during the running sessions never got too hard.  I am working toward a goal!

So, that’s all you get.  Right now, I am about to stretch to run again!  It is supposed to rain for the rest of the week, and I want to enjoy the sunshine while I can.

Random Thoughts Day 8: Working Toward Crossing Something Off of My Bucket List

Examining my bucket list, I realized that I will never die because I haven’t really accomplished anything on it.  That’s the way it works, right?  It’s like a bank account.  As long as you have checks in your checkbook, you have money, right?

Okay, I’m kidding on both accounts, but I do have a few items I would like to cross off this year, one of which is “To run a 5K.”  The only problem with accomplishing this goal is that I hate running.  As I have said time and again, I find running pointless.  “Where are you all running?  Why can’t you just walk or ride a bike or take a cab, for that matter?”

However, most of my friends are runners.  These people are not teenagers who run because they have nothing better to do.  They are not twentysomethings who do not yet have the responsibilities of a family.  No, my friends are in their thirties and forties.  Most of them work full-time; they all have families, and they all find time to run.

They love it.  They run for fun; they run for fitness; they run for the adrenaline rush of a race.  I listen to them talk about the endorphins, and I think, “I like endorphins.  I like the feeling when I have accomplished something.”

Then, I look at their bodies.  Not one of my runner friends has a  droopy or saggy bottom.  None of my runner friends have flabby legs.  They are lean and strong.  I want to be lean and strong.  I want firm legs and a taut and tight derriere.

So what is a girl to do?  I forked out $43.00 to sign up for the Color Run on June 8.  I am monetarily committed.  Now, I have to run.

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008Three weeks ago, I went and bought myself a new pair of shoes.  I always find that when starting an activity, I have to buy something new to help with my motivation.  Next, I reloaded Ease into 5K into my iPod.  It’s a nine week training session, in which the runner is supposed to run three days a week and work up to the 3.2 miles.  I am trying to run four days a week and get done a little faster.  I want to be at three miles by June 1st.

To sweeten the pot, last week Carson decided that she wanted to run it with me.  Like her mother, Carson is not a runner, but she likes a challenge.  I bought her a new pair of running shoes, downloaded Ease into 5K into her iPod, and we are running together three days a week.

Sadly, when I went to register her for the race, it was already sold out.  I haven’t broken the news to her yet because I do not want to lose my running buddy.  Selfish?  Probably, but I figure once she gets halfway through the training, I will break the news to her and we will choose another 5K to run.

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Yesterday, it was gorgeous here in Cleveland.  We went to the Metroparks, and we ran.  I’m still unsure whether I like it, but I’m committed in more ways than one.