Yes, you’re supposed to read the title of this post as Forrest Gump.
See that lady in purple wearing a turkey hat crossing the finish line? That’s Me!
“Oh hey Molly, I didn’t know you were a runner!” You say.
Here’s the story: my sister, who is crazy and runs marathons and stuff, ran in the inaugural Thanksgiving Day 5K in our hometown last year and since then has been trying to get my other sisters and I to run with her. I am…shall we say…less than athletic. Sure, I played a bunch of sports when I was young but I never had what some might call “hustle”. Like, I don’t remember breaking a sweat in basketball and my softball uniform was never dirty. So I turned down her offer of a pre-turkey 5K and didn’t think much of it for most of the year.
I’m sure a lot of you know about the Couch To 5K program that helps you to get your lazy butt up and moving. I had tried it a few times before, never making it past the second week. I was convinced that running was not for me. I would run if something were chasing me or if I had to beat someone to the last piece of cake. And in those cases I just assumed adrenaline would kick in. No need for training.
But two months ago, I got a crazy idea. I was going to train…in secret. I was going to keep it a secret until Thanksgiving morning when I triumphantly walked down the stairs in my running gear to the applause of my family. I was going to wear a turkey hat. One of these things happened.
In early October, I went out for my first day of the Couch To 5K program which included 60 second intervals of running and 90 second intervals of walking. I hated it.
I am never melodramatic.
But, miracle of miracles, I kept going. I ran three days a week during my lunch break. And no, my office doesn’t have showers. THIS IS DEDICATION YOU’RE LOOKING AT. I got past my 2 week hump. Hobbled through week 3. Worked up to week 4 and what the crap? Was I enjoying it? Not really. Sort of. I dunno, hindsight is 20/20.
I hit a roadbump called “lung capacity” and “endurance” and “possible latissimus strain” somewhere along the line. I got frustrated over the fact that two months wasn’t enough time for me, that I wouldn’t be able to actually run the whole thing, that I would come in last and there’d be children and dogs and old people whizzing past me. I had to keep telling myself that every minute I was out there training was good for my body. I had to remind myself that getting your heart rate up for a half hour every few minutes is one of the most important things to do for your health. I said, “Molly, this is your first ever 5K and it can only get better.” And then I got cute running clothes and I was all set.
Another point of pride – I had kept the secret. My friends knew, but no one in my family did. And I am a horrible secret-keeper. Please don’t trust me with anything.
Then, two days before the race I get an email from the organizer – they had put the bib numbers online in alphabetical order. Nooooo! I knew my sister would look and I knew I couldn’t convince her that there was another Molly K, age 26, from Brookline running in our hometown. Womp womp. The secret was officially out.
But I did wear the Turkey Hat
After my final few run/walk training sessions I decided my goal was going to be to get under 40 minutes. My official time? 38:34. BOOM.