once a runner, always a runner…

I ran a 10K today, Reader.

I was thinking about how I was going to tell you about this whilst walking up to the starting line. I was going to tell you that I “did” a 10K today, not so much “ran” a 10K. I knew for weeks that I was going to complete it, but I didn’t train well. I didn’t run enough leading up to it. There was always an excuse: Things happening in the morning. Staying up too late and wanting to sleep in most mornings. You know, the usual stuff.

So I ran a handful of times over the last three weeks. It was rough getting back into it… I ran a marathon (yes, a whole freaking marathon) in 2012 and trained with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training in Portland, Oregon. (Shameless plug: if you’re interested in getting into shape or getting into running long distance and need a good support group, check out TNT in your community. You will train with knowledgeable people, make some great local friendships, and it’s all for a good cause. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.) I trained for five months to get ready for it and I was in the best shape of my life.

But you know what, Reader? It was so much easier to get ready for that great, big race because I had a team of other people expecting me to be at weekly long runs and do put in the time and miles during the week on my own. For this tiny 10K, no one was expecting me to do anything… It was so easy to just shirk the responsibility, make endless excuses, all while staying in bed longer each morning.

So last night, I set an alarm for 6:30 and [secretly] was already considering not going… And then, this morning, it didn’t go off. It was an old alarm I had set on my phone to only ring on weekdays. Newsflash: today is Sunday and therefore not a weekend. So I happened to wake up past my alarm, but with plenty of time to get around and out to the race, which was nearly an hour away on the opposite end of my subway line. And then I decided I didn’t care. I wasn’t going.

I texted my BFF JW and wrote, “I just woke up. My alarm was set for thirty minutes ago but didn’t go off because it’s an old one set for only weekdays. And you know what? I’ve decided not to go do that 10K… I’m a bad person.”

JW wrote, “Oh my. You’re a horrible person.”

I wrote, “But I only paid $30 for it and ate a ton of crap last night and I don’t feel up to doing 6 miles. I will be myself up for this later. But I will tell everyone else I overslept. Which is a tiny bit true. Instead I’m going to watch Downton [Abbey] now.”

JW wrote, “That’s lovely.”

And then, while I was trying to go back to sleep, my momma bear called me to wish me luck. And guilt tripped me into getting up. I was adamant that I wasn’t going and stayed in bed for the whole short conversation. But she was adamant that I should get up and reminded me that, just as I had mentioned to JW, I would totally regret it. I hung up with her after a few minutes and laid in bed a bit longer. And I looked back at the clock two or three times.

I was already starting to feel the guilt.

If I got up right then, I could still get everything together that I needed, get dressed, and get to the race. So I got up.

On my way out, I was half-regretting leaving my bed. And then I kept using my phone, which depleted the battery to nearly nothing. Great, I thought. Now I can’t use my Nike app and post this to Facebook or know my pace and see where I walked, blah blah blah. But whatever. I was on my way.

I arrived with just twenty minutes to what had been deemed “start time” and rushed out of the subway only to find a line outside the stop. People were waiting for a shuttle to the start location, which was a bit of a surprise to me because I expected to be running through town. I was really worried by then because time was ticking and what do you do when you’re late for a race? And you’re in Korea? And you can’t speak Korean?

But all was fine. I arrived and met a fellow American who was also worried. I was becoming less and less concerned. I kept thinking, “Oh well. At least I got up and tried.” We walked up to where all the action was and split up; she was running the 5K and I obviously wasn’t. I spotted the 10K banner a way ahead, moving a long stream of people away from the tents of the gathering area. I wasn’t sure what to do, but decided to jump right in. All the people had bibs that matched mine, so I felt like I was making the right choice. (Spoiler alert: I made the right choice.)

Walking up to the start line, I couldn’t see much that was in front of me. It was so crazy foggy from the change in temperatures between the air and the Nakdong River, the area the course wound alongside. I kept telling myself what I had been telling people for a few days: I’ll end up walking half of the race and finish in an hour and a half. It won’t be my worst 10K time (the Bolder Boulder in 2011, the other time I didn’t train AT ALL, I finished in 1:36:47), but all that matters is that I’m here. Whatever. I’m here. The race started. I kept a steady pace for the first half, which I demanded of myself. No stopping and walking until after the first 5 kilometers, I kept thinking. Even before I made it to that halfway point, I was half-kicking myself for not wussing out and signing up for the 5K. And after that, I did some walk-run-walk-run business.

So I ran [walked] on. And as I came up on the finish line and looked up at the clock, I saw that only an hour, fourteen minutes, and fifty some seconds had elapsed. I smiled and felt suddenly elated – it didn’t take me an hour and a half! In an effort to get as close to an even hour and fifteen minutes, I sprinted that last tiny bit.

Final result: 1:15:03.

I was so proud of myself for going. For finishing it. I felt good about my time, especially considering that I hadn’t worked to get ready much at all. I probably could have run more than I did, but I finished in a definite not-ready state.

And it was so inspiring to be amongst all those other runners. I had forgotten how empowering and exciting it was to see other people who were passionate about running (more passionate about it than I ever have been). People who are dedicated to getting out and running most, if not every, day. They made me want to pick running back up regularly and get ready for a new race. So I decided, I have to run a full marathon next year (or a half in the event of any injuries or trouble). I will have to train and get ready. It’s going to be rough and I’m going to be doing it by myself. But I really, really, really want to do it. I said I wanted to do it this year, but I wasn’t disciplined. But 2015? That’ going to be my year.

So, just another thing to add to the intentions for next year. 2015 really is going to be epic.


  1. samatwitch says:

    Good for you. I don’t run but I have walked 5 and 10k races. It still feels good to finish, no matter how long it takes. And you, doing so well without training so much! What a sense of achievement you must feel.

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thanks, Samatwitch! Yes, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. And after receiving a text today telling me I actually finished in 1:13:57, just a tiny bit better, I felt even more elated! I’m looking forward to next year’s season. :)

  2. sarahdudek80 says:

    Congratulations on pushing through and going for it. That is never easy. I recently did the same thing. I was so hoping to not do the race and I even LOVE running. Bu it happens and it is normal. And congratulations on deciding to do a big one next year!

    • shops4shoes says:

      Thanks so much, Sarah! I actually got a text today that told me I finished the race in 1:13:57! Even better than I thought! I felt even better. :) I definitely am feeling more apt to remain more disciplined. Here’s to next year’s big one!

      Good luck on your next big race!

  3. Dan Antion says:

    Speaking for those of us who did not run/walk 10k today, you did way more than have good intentions. You won’t be doing something in 2015, you will be doing something better than you did in 2014,

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