I have done my first 5K run! I was with 800+ women who set the pace on Saturday, August 25 at the Toronto Women’s 10k/5k fundraising for POGO (Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario).
For you who have already ran long distances like marathons, this is nothing. Just remember when you started. For most of us this is a big deal.
I always was afraid of running because of a condition I have called bunion. Then my husband started running and I admired all the transformations this sport did to his health and life style. After a year, he noticed his feet flexed much less than when he was walking, and for my condition, less flexing means less pain.
To face that fear, I decided to take on running. I ran 1km on the treadmill to check if my feet hurt too much. The next day, my feet were the same so I tried 2km. No pain yet, but I was still reticent. Then I took the challenge to run outside. That’s when the magic started. Each day, Toronto invited me to run a bit more. I felt more in love with this amazing city as I chose different paths. For every run, I felt free, positive and alive. The condition got out of my way.
One day I ran 4km and that was enough to register for my first real race. I imagined that, while running, I would think of all the struggles to move to a new country and how running was helping me be even stronger and more resilient. But on that morning, I did not think any of that, I never looked back, my mind was forward looking without any effort.
While running, I checked, from time to time, whether I was stepping correctly, so my feet wouldn’t get hurt. I paid attention to start slow and progressively increase my pace. I watched the other runners around. I had decided to run without headsets to feel the environment. Suddenly, there was silence! We entered deeper into the park and I could hear the birds tweeting, the leafs swaying, those hundreds of uncoordinated steps, breathes… It was surreal. The cheers in the halfway-mark took me out of my meditative zone and the firemen offering cool water woke me up.
Reality then kicked in and my thoughts went astray. “How long will it still take? My legs hurt. My shoelace is off. Why are so many people walking? My legs seem to go against my will to run faster.” I had to make these thoughts go away. “No! I will not stop! Let’s go! One more kilometer to go! I will have so many challenges ahead of me. Come on! I will keep this up until I get there!”
Then, I heard the music, the cheers, I saw so many people and I finally saw my family. Happiness bathed my body, thankfulness warmed my mind and power fleshed through my veins. I had just competed against myself and I had learned I am in command. Once again, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I saw that I can go even further than I had envisaged. Just keep on pushing!
I now have a baseline. 5km in 30:48s official time, 88th place out of 800+ women and 12th place in my age group. They told me it’s impressive for a first run. Me, I want more!