“I want to start running. What do I need to do?”
I nearly squealed with excitement when I heard those opening words from my sister Heather. I’ve run many times with my sister Wendy (including The Broad Street 10 Miler and the ODDyssey Half Marathon this year), but my sister Heather has never been that into the idea of running for voluntary reasons.
Heather is a busy mom of two kids who works, takes care of her family, and has a million and one things to do every day. Running to her sounded like an efficient form of exercise that would take far less time away from her busy life than her beloved 1.5 hour yoga classes.
And I was delighted that she called on me for advice!
I told her to go to a running store to get fitted for a good pair of running shoes, look up the Couch to 5k Program, and get started right away before she could come up with excuses not to. And for one of the first times in my life, my older sister listened to me!
She downloaded the c25k app on her iPhone, went to a running store and bought a pair of shoes (Brooks Glycerine 10) and got started the very next day.
I somehow convinced her that we should sign up for a 5k together around Thanksgiving to keep her motivated and so that we could run together when she was gone with the program. Several times a week she would check in with me on her status with c25k, and her enthusiasm was infectious each time she crossed a new running threshold.
She went from running 90 seconds and wanting to die, to running 22 minutes straight over the course of 6 weeks, and while being delighted to be done, felt she could have run more if need be. She didn’t exactly finish the program in time for the 5k, but we had signed up for a Turkey Trot on the Friday after Thanksgiving and I may have twisted her arm about running it anyways.
I told her the excitement of the crowd and the adrenaline from running a race would carry her through, and if she could run 22 minutes, she could run 36 with me by her side. And, if she couldn’t? We could walk. No big deal.
Friday came and we woke up bright and early and set out the door at 7:30am to make the almost hour drive to the race site. I told everyone who would listen that it was her first 5k and she told me she was going to punch me. Sisterly love.
Before we knew it, it was time to go to the starting area and I was being far too excited for her taste, but she had no choice. She was running her first 5k, and I was there by her side!
All of a sudden, the announcement was made and we were running a 5k! I told Heather to set the pace and that I would just go along with whatever she was comfortable with, and we started off FAST. She wasn’t sure what her exact pace would be, but was guessing 12 minute miles, and we were running sub 10s at the beginning. I told her to slow down and that we could pick it up if she feeling good for the second half of the race.
We lucked out with a GORGEOUS day for running.
I was so impressed with how she was doing and was trying to think of what I would want someone who was running with me to do for my first 5k, so I did what I do best and just talked and talked. I told her random stories, talked a lot about food/pancakes/post run eating, and updated her about how far we’d gone periodically. And before we knew it we were at the half way mark and she was doing awesome.
The course itself was fast and flat and and pretty scenic. We kept an even pace after that quick start at the beginning and I was surprised we were going closer to 10 minute miles than 12. Before either of us knew it, we rounded the corner and laid eyes on the finish line. Side by side, we picked it up for the last little bit and ran through the finish with arms held high! We’d done it!
My nephew (her son) Ben had come with his dad to cheer us on (how CUTE is he!?!?) and was so impressed by his mom! As were the rest of us. Not only did we finish, but we finished in just under 32 minutes for her very first 5k!