Off and Running

Yesterday, I experienced something wonderful: being part of a teamStarted.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been “training” for a 5k. I tried late last year, but took a break because the running was bothering my back. A month ago, I signed up for a 5K and got back on the wagon. I’ve been doing intervals on the treadmill, and it has been going ok. But I’ve still been worried about actually running on roads vs. treadmill intervals.

Earlier this week, my trainer, Danny, invited me to a group run. Warren, a runner and fellow morning workout devotee, was going to introduce folks to Galloway running. Danny explained that this style of running is a great way to run injury-free and thought I should come check it out. After making sure he thought I could do it, I agreed to go.

Between Wednesday and Saturday morning, I rethought the decision 100 times and came up with at least that many reasons not to go. I hadn’t yet received the Gymboss that Danny suggested we all order…I didn’t know what to wear…I wasn’t sure how my shoes would do “on road”…I didn’t have good socks…I wasn’t fit enough…I weighed too much. You name it, I came up with it. I woke Saturday morning to rain, and while most runners I know will run through anything short of a monsoon, I hoped maybe the run would be canceled. No such luck. I reluctantly met the group at 8:30 a.m.

The apprehension didn’t stop once I arrived. The group consisted of experienced runners, no beginners like me. I totally had my doubts, but once I was there, I figured there was no graceful way to just leave. After a Galloway 101 lesson and a short prayer from Danny, we kicked off the run. We ran two minutes, walked one; run-walk intervals are a hallmark of Galloway running. Throughout the run, I was usually in the back, but I wasn’t alone. Both Warren and Danny accompanied me, and thankfully, encouraged me the entire time.

Around the last mile, I felt a little pain in my right hip, so I slowed down a little more. Later, I felt a small, but scary pop, so I walked the rest of the way back. I was really glad to have Danny there, and as we walked back, we talked about my hip. We decided that it was likely a flare up of the hip bursitis I had a few years ago. Danny advised me to take 800 mgs. of ibuprofen and while not to immediately rest, ice my hip when I did.

Even though I had to walk the last bit, Danny and Warren said that I could definitely count the run as my first 5k run. Considering where I was two and a half years ago, that is a pretty big damn deal. I remember my first weeks at the gym, when at 232 lbs., even the easiest thing was difficult. Three minutes on the elliptical, at the easiest setting at that, was all I could do. Even then, I was left breathless and exhausted. I am definitely now doing the thing I never thought I could.

Before we all went our separate ways, Warren took me aside and told me how impressed he was at what I was doing. He has been there since the beginning, probably my first week of training, and knew me when I was some 80 lbs. heavier. His words were very sincere, and they bolstered my spirits. And as I got in the car, Danny tossed me a cap from the half-marathon a couple of weekends ago.

As the fat girl who was always picked last for kickball, yesterday was probably my first positive experience of being part of a non-work, activity related team. And unlike grade school gym, it was fabulous! The sharing, the support, the fun – everything about it was great. Oh, except the bum hip, but even then I had a lot of support. I definitely enjoyed it more than running solo on the treadmill, which I thought I preferred, and I hope to do it again soon, hip allowing.

Speaking of the hip, Danny has checked in on me twice, and it looks like after a day of rest today, I can get back to the gym on Monday. He says that we can do cardio and upper body Monday, and that by Wednesday’s training, he expects that I will be “right as rain.” My fingers are crossed!

As for the May 11 “Get Into the Pink” 5k, I’m going to play it by ear. At the very least, I should be able to walk it. And if not, I’ll volunteer. I’ve learned that the most important thing is to train wisely and focus on my well-being and progress instead of the somewhat artificial deadline of any particular event. If Get Into the Pink doesn’t pan out, I’ll continue to train toward another 5k; there are plenty from which to choose!

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