I am not an experienced runner. I am not really a beginner runner either. I still have some “firsts” left, but the list is admittedly getting smaller. This past Sunday I scratched one of those “firsts” off my list by walking the Ugly Sweater 5k with a group of friends and our furry loved ones. This was a BIG step for me. Yes, I did just say that walking a 5k was a BIG step for me. I know some of you runners out there are probably saying, “What?” or “Why?” Well, because sometimes you just need to walk!
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE running. I ran my “first” half marathon this fall! Since then I haven’t logged a ton of miles but I ran a combined 8 miles in the two days prior to the 5k. Therefore, my body felt tired when I woke up Sunday morning. The dawning moment of truth for me was realizing that I didn’t have to run the race! Of course I wanted to run but my body was telling me that I needed some rest before my Road Warrior training started this week.
I arrived at the race to find my friend Megan would be running her very first 5k and another, Christian, would be walking his very first. My initial reaction was to say “let’s go!” to Megan and run with her through her first race. However, doing that would have presented a problem for my sore legs, hips and glutes, so I chose to listen to my body instead. So my dog Penny and I accompanied Christian, his wife Emily and their dog Franklin. This decision proved to be an enlightening one to say the least.
I learned many important lessons on this maiden walking voyage. First of all, it was FUN! It gave me the opportunity to really soak in the environment around me. I saw families, groups of friends and furry ones all dressed up in glorious ugly sweaters enjoying themselves on a beautiful Sunday morning. This is something I might not have noticed if I were running. I don’t know if you are like me but when I’m running I am so in tune with my own body that it’s hard to really soak in my surroundings. I was able to stop and cheer Megan on to her last mile as she whizzed past us.
Christian taught me something that morning. He shared with me that he was incredibly nervous and intimidated that morning. He explained that it was nerve wracking for him to show up and walk this race knowing most people would be running it. I had never thought about how intimidating it might be for a walker to come and participate in a run. Do any of you remember your first race? Do you remember waking up race morning with your stomach in knots in anticipation of what was to come? Now imagine your feelings are compounded with the knowledge that you are about to walk a race while the majority will be running it. I can tell you that the smiles were just as big on the faces of those who walked the race as they were on the runners. To all of the walkers out there, I sincerely salute you! You know the power and meaning behind the saying “You don’t have move fast, but you have to keep moving.” Keep moving my friends!
One of the best things that happened Sunday was, well…
There is a reason they call it Puppy Love…
Cheers and happy walking/running!