It’s time for a confession. Before we start talking about running 5K, 10K half marathon races and marathons, you need to know something about me.
I was never in good shape as a kid. I was not the track star, volleyball and basketball player that my brother and sister, and many of my friends were in high school. I was uncoordinated, lazy, and preferred to spend my Sunday curled up on the couch with a good book, or nestled in the crook of the walnut tree branches, daydreaming, instead of riding my bike or running around the neighborhood, or hanging upside-down from the monkey bars at the park. Was I chubby? Yes. Not by today’s standards, but certainly not one of those skinny, ropy kids without an ounce of fat on them.
Fast-forward to college. I was still super insecure about athletics, or even about working out. I started doing more physical activity, and even got laughed at by a particularly sadistic boyfriend when I went for a run with some other friends. So the voice in my head always told me that I couldn’t do it.
When I moved to Boulder in 1991, I had some friends who were runners who came with me. They forced me to run if I wanted to hang out with them. At first I was mortified by my lack of fitness, and my slow pace. But bit by bit, I got better. Then I clerked for a local firm in the summer after my first year of law school, and those lawyers huffed and puffed their way through a daily lunchtime run. Some of them went further, on seven-mile trail runs, and they peer-pressured me into joining them. They were old, so I could keep up, right?
It was really tough. I think they slowed down a little at first so I could do it. But it made me confident enough to run my first half, with a good friend, the following summer. I have been running races, including halfs and marathons, ever since.
Today, my goal is to make it to the next age group and shave some minutes off my time so I can place in one of the smaller half marathons. Because right now those women in their 40s are killin’ it (and me)! Of course, I do race in Boulder and Denver, and there are people who run for a living here, and I’ve learned that I am not willing to work as hard at my training as I need to in order to reach my peak performance. But more than anything, the most important truth I have discovered during all of this running, is that 95% of it is in your head. That’s right. The voice in your head that says you can’t do it is what’s stopping you, and nothing else. If you go slow enough, you can run one mile, then two, then a 5K, then a 10K and beyond. Just don’t stop!
My favorite race calendar is Running in the USA. You can find local calendars that will tell you about the most popular races, and all of them have little gems that may not be included in the bigger calendars. But Running in the USA is the one that has the most coverage, and the biggest variety of races all over your state or the U.S.
So check out Running in the USA, choose your race, get together some friends, and start running. You will feel like a superstar!
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