Friday, February 24, 2012

How Do I Know

When I'm on the elliptical at the gym, my mind tends to wander. Maybe you know the feeling. Anyway, I started thinking about the 5K race that I just asked a friend to register me for. (Please ignore the terrible grammar in that sentence). Three years ago I said that I wanted to finish treatment, get in good shape, and run a 5 K. Two out of the 3 have been completed, now it's time for the last item.

Still, as I was running, hamster-like, on the elliptical, I started to get a little nervous. I'm not a runner, and anyone who took high school gym class with me can testify to this. I was the person walking around the track after the first half mile because I didn't like to sweat. Most of my exercise now is on gym machines or zumba classes. Could I really run over 3 miles? In public?

Then my wandering mind flashed back over a year ago. Nate had started running, dropped 40 pounds, and gotten in much better shape. "Come on," he said, one Sunday afternoon. "Let's go to the park, and you can run a litle with me." Well, any time with my spouse and without the children along is a good thing, so I laced up my sneakers, and went along. I figured I'd run for a few minutes with him on the trail, and then hike the rest of the way, occasionally calling out encouragement. This is not exactly what happened.

We started up the trail, which included a hill right at the beginning. I was already sweating. Nate, an excellent and natural runner, was breathing easily. "This hill will be over soon. Come on, you can do it!" The hill was over soon, and we ran along the path for a few minutes. But what was ahead of us? Another hill! Larger! "I don't think I can do this one" I managed to gasp. "Just try. I'm right here beside you. " So, I gritted my teeth, and took the hill. Almost stopped running, but pride and curiosity (and Nate) kept me going.

And that's how it went for the rest of the run. I tripped over a root, fell flat, and kept going. We went up and down more hills, past the pond, past hikers who looked calm, cool, and relaxed. Every time I started to walk, Nate encouraged me. "You're doing great. Keep running. No walking here!" Muttering under my breath, when I could catch my breath, I kept going. I lost track of time, and distance. Surely we'd run several miles by now.

Finally, I could see the car up ahead. " I didn't think I'd make it" was all I could say. Nate grinned. "I knew you could. Do you know how far you ran today? 4 miles! Way to go!"
Four miles. I'd never run four miles in my life.

Basking in the endorphins, I smiled back. Wow. Me, the ultimate non-athlete, just ran four miles. I would never have tried this without him. My husband pushes me further than I think I can go, and while I may mutter under my breath sometimes, I'm grateful for the encouragement, and the sense of accomplishment.

Can I run a 5 K ? I'm still nervous but I know I can. Thanks to Nate, I know I can run three miles, because with him by my side, I once ran four.

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