I'm sitting here eating almonds and really have nothing to say. It is one of those times when I figure since I write a blog that I should actually write something. Otherwise, you just have a blog in a vacuum. And you know what a vacuum blog does? Yes, it sucks. So, I'm pretty sure what is going to follow in the next few paragraphs is going to suck. So I apologize in advance for that. I actually have a lot to say, but I don't really know how to format it.
I helped with a C25K program a little while ago. Jennie organized and ran it and Gayle and I helped coach the runners. The actual 5k was on October 12th, the day before my marathon. Without being overly dramatic, this was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time. To see a group of people doing something they really didn't think they could do. It made me remember what it was like when I tried to take up running again 5 or 6 years ago. I could barely go from one telephone pole to the next. I remembered how hard running was for me then. Over time, the group and I became pretty comfortable with each other. I ended up hearing about most everything that a woman goes through. What they deal with on a daily or monthly basis. How it makes this running stuff even harder. I remember one day telling some of them that it does get easier. That I too had a hard time getting back to it. One of them said to me, "But Bob, you were born a runner." I started to argue a bit and then said, "Yes. I was." I thought it was cool that someone I barely knew, kind of knew me. My frustration with myself is that I have wasted years of potential. I could always run and then I just stopped when I was in my early twenties. Now, I'm left with wondering what I would or could have done if I had the drive I have now. I am trying to re-find my inner athlete. Some of these people are trying to find it now. For the first time. Watching them work so hard to get to the 5k was an incredible thing. One woman in the group had a particularly hard time. After about the 2nd or 3rd day, she was ready to quit. She told me that this program was not meant for her. That she could not run. I told her the program was totally for her. That she would be amazed at what happens at the end. Each week she was able to run more and more, and then she decided she could walk faster than she could run. So, she mostly walked again. The thing is, when she ran she had really good form. I told her that and she didn't believe me. I told her that I am encouraging, but I'm not someone who is going to blow smoke up her ass when it comes to running. She had good running form. For the last few weeks, she mostly walked but would run at times. Her main goal was to finish the 5k in less than a hour. The day of the 5k everyone was nervous. There were different sub-groups within our group. The faster ones, the ones that mostly ran, and those that mostly walked. I was with the ones that mostly walked. I actually thought this would be good, because I had the marathon the next day. A funny thing happened though. The woman I described above, started running. She ran until we got to a hill and then ran part way up that. Then we walked. Then she ran some more. Then we started talking about how she felt and she said very tired but she wanted at least to run across the finish line. I felt that she had quite a bit of strength, so I would encourage her to run at certain points. We talked about strategic points where it would be good to run. Down the small hill would be a good one. Then to certain points. We saw a crowd and I told her that we have to run by the crowd. You need to milk the crowd and look strong. As soon as you get past them, then take a break. The rest of the way, we did this. We talked about how soon she should run when she saw the finish line. I told her to make sure she had enough energy to get to the line running. At one point I saw that she was struggling and told her to stop and walk for about 50 yards and regroup and then kick it in to the finish line. At the point that I saw her about to cross the line I was really glad I was wearing sunglasses. It was one of those moments I will always remember. Her strength and determination made her run more than she thought she could and made her finish the 5k. All her. A lot of thoughts and emotions can occur in just a few seconds. I watched her celebrate while I thought of the people who encourage me. My running friends who won't let me quit. They are incredible. They know who they are.
She is just one example in the group. The others were equally inspiring. I want to thank Jennie for involving me and for being such a good example for them all and Gayle for being her ever motivational self. I don't think it is an experience the three of us will ever forget.