My First 5K... Hopefully
Believe it or not, I have never participated in a road race. Not even a 5k fundraiser or turkey trot. Unless you count middle school where we were forced to in gym class. I usually just walked that course anyway.
This is curious for a number of reasons.
I have been a fitness professional for more than five years now, and a “fitness person” (whatever that means) for almost six.
I currently work at a fitness center, both teaching classes and in the office.
Not long ago I considered myself a runner. I still do, actually, even though it’s been years since I was actually able to go for a run.
I have worked and volunteered for a number of nonprofits in my lifetime, some of which had road-race fundraisers as part of their events.
Way back in 2017, I remember talking to my father about signing up for the Scarecrow 5k in my hometown, a fall fundraiser for the town land conservation something or other… who cared about the cause? I just wanted to put my running skills to the test.
At that time, I had been running semi-regularly for a little over two years. But I was still only running a mile or two at a time. I remember being excited to challenge myself with a new goal.
Unfortunately around that same time, my foot pain began. I went to the podiatrist that summer, but I assumed it was nothing and would be fixed in no time. By the time September rolled around, I had stopped running altogether, and completely forgotten about the 5k.
Flash forward to a year and a half later - I was working in the Development (aka fundraising) department at Crossroads, an organization that serves individuals with autism in Marlborough MA. I was hired as the communications and events coordinator and - although I had never participated in a 5k event in my life - it was now part of my job to organize the event. WHAT?!?!
Luckily, I had a wonderful boss who coached me and worked with me throughout the numerous stages of the project.
That June, the event had more than 500 people and we raised more money for the organization than our original goal!
However, when you are in charge of an event… you don’t actually get to participate in that event.
I was running around taking photographs and posting to social media and helping volunteers find their next assignment. I easily walked over 3.1 miles that day, but it was as a participant in the race.
I had about 20 people on my team! My fit-family (class participants) and my biological family joined me at the event, and even though I was working most of it, everyone had a great time! I was so proud of my class participants for challenging themselves and supporting me while they did it!
The best part though, was seeing my Dad complete the race. He had suffered a stroke 2 years before, almost to the date. At the time, we thought he might never walk again. When I saw him cross the finish line, my tears welled up with joy and pride. It was a moment I’ll never forget, and I wish I could have been running there by his side.
Later that year, I had surgery to remove the neuroma in my foot. And I hoped and prayed that I would be healed up in time to get back to running and participate in the next year’s race.
Alas, the next year was 2020, and we all know what happened. When the pandemic started, I tried to walk every day, eager to heal my foot and just get off the computer for a bit. But it wasn’t long before my foot pain came back. My walks got shorter and my work days got longer as we pivoted to organize a virtual event. I was able to get out and walk around my neighborhood, and posted some photos as a virtual participant. But it wasn’t quite the same experience.
This year, I still have issues with my foot. But I’ve decided that I don’t want to let that rule my life. I love running. And I want to do a F#@%ing 5K fundraiser!
Today I went for a one-mile walk, the first in a long time. I was okay for the first half, but on the way back my foot started to get uncomfortable. The 5K for Crossroads is June 6, which gives me about a month to get ready. Plus - the race is right after I become fully vaccinated (two weeks after my second shot) so it’s perfect timing! After a year and a half of lockdown, I am so eager to get out and see people again.
My mom has already said she wants to participate in the race. Hopefully my class participants and fellow gym-employees will join my team as well.
I’m not sure if I'll be able to run the full 3.1 miles… It’s been a crazy few years. But I know this much - I’m gonna try.
PS: Click here if you’d like to join my team (they have virtual options too) or donate to the cause!