A partially cloudy eastern sky came alive with the morning colors as the sun awoke in Kent, Ohio. In the pre-dawn hours, I had prepared myself for my first 5K. Running shoes laced and tied – check. Blue and gold identifying my allegiance to my alma mater– check. iPhone queued to my C25K playlist – check. It appeared that I was ready. The big question of the morning was if I was mentally ready for the day.
For the past five weeks, I trained in a Couch to 5K program under the direction of my best friend Chuck. I had planned to run my first 5K after completing this eight-week program. The perfect storm conspired to shorten my training. Today’s Black Squirrel 5K benefiting my alma mater, Kent State University, was four miles from my front door. The run had a cool t-shirt with a running black squirrel logo. I was feeling more and more confident as our C25K runs went by. I threw caution to the wind. I signed up to give the black squirrel a run.
This run is something I will remember in the years to come. My emotions were high along with my expectations and enthusiasm for the day. My pal Chuck’s encouraging words during our practice runs, at our Friday lunches, and in our texting set the stage for me to succeed. Last night I finished The Courage to Start, the first of John “The Penguin” Bingham’s running books. During and after the run, the following paragraph from that book inspired me to succeed.
“For me, running comes down to equal parts inspiration, perspiration, dedication and celebration. Each of these components is essential to a lifelong program of running, and each contributes to keeping running fun. “
Inspiration – I love stories of inspiration. John Bingham and my pal Chuck inspire me with their dedication to run. Running has led me to inspire myself to go into uncharted waters and find a new side of myself I did not know existed. It never occurred to me that there could be such a thing as self-inspiration.
Perspiration – Running was very hard the first time I laced those shoes and set out for a run. It is getting easier with every run. I want to be a fitter, healthier person and I now know that running will be part of me achieving that goal. No pain, no gain and there will be sweaty times.
Dedication – Today’s run was an exercise in dedication. I faithfully prepared myself for the run. Once the starting pistol echoed in my ears, I focused on how I could succeed and let that positive attitude fuel my energy for the run. As I crossed that finish line, I reaped the rewards of being dedicated to running.
Celebration – In my weight loss journey, I learned the importance of celebrating victories. Today’s celebrations were small but memorable; the police officer on Main Street giving me the thumbs-up, the students on the Commons cheering, and my husband, friends and my friend Chuck with his camera at the finish line. There were many outward celebrations today, but I know I will inwardly celebrate running in the years to come.
Fun – John Bingham has it right. The combination of inspiration, perspiration, dedication and celebration work together to make running fun. I share his philosophy that fun plays a very important part in our lives. Today’s run brought running full circle to me. I remember those warm summer nights when my friends were running to catch fireflies. For almost fifty years, I told myself that running is not for a person like me. It was something relegated to athletes and the fit and trim. Crossing the finish line changed that voice in my mind. I now am ready to run more with Chuck and his group and look forward to my next race on Mother’s Day.