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May 14, 2012

Races with Girlfriends

Races with Girlfriends

Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.

Oprah Winfrey

So much has changed for me in 11 months of running that it’s hard to wrap my mind around it.

If you had ever ever told me I would even think of entering a race – even months after I started running I might have called you silly to your face. When I first started running, people constantly asked me what I was training for. I quickly realized that this is common conversation between runners – many of whom run (at least in part) so that they can participate in races.

This was a conversation that happened the other day when I was running with a friend. I was a hot day and we were stopped on the side of the path at a drinking fountain. Another runner – I think she was from South Africa – stopped about the same time.

My friend: Hot day, huh?

Other runner: Oh yes!

My friend: Are you out here training for something?

Other runner: Not at the moment…(pause)…but there is always something to train for right!

And she flashes a happy, sweaty smile and takes off.

Ok, flash back 2 months ago. I am standing post-run in my friend Wendy’s kitchen. Her friend Sandi comes in. I don’t know Sandi very well, but she always strikes me as determined in the perkiest possible way. She is about my age and has been through a lot in her life and I really wish I could share her energy and enthusiasm. As I listen, I realize she is talking about running the 5k portion of the upcoming OC Marathon. Wendy looks at me and tells me she is thinking about it. Sandi is saying that she is using this race to get herself motivated to exercise again. She doesn’t care about a time or going fast, she just wants to get through the whole course and not walk.

I have never seen Wendy or Sandi run.

I have a funny moment of acknowledging that I am the experienced runner in the room. That sort of scares me.

I am sure you can get through this without walking, I say.

Can you run with us, Wendy asks? Are you going to be in town.

And I look at my calendar and it turns out I am in town and suddenly I am saying Sure, that would be fun…

A few minutes later I am walking back to my house wondering how to get out of this.

Then I decide not to panic. This is not about me. Sandi really wants to do this race and she wants other people there doing it with her. I frankly run that distance most days of the week, so I know I can do it – I am just going to be there to help everyone else along and that seems just fine by me. Nothing to train for, no time to beat. Ok, I can do that.

Flash forward 6 weeks. I am picking up my friends at 6 am on a Saturday and I’m thinking I have lost my sanity. My leg is still hurt, it’s cold, I’m tired and….ok, it’s just a 3 mile run and it’s not about me! A few minutes later, Wendy and Sandi are in my car and they seem excited and suddenly I can relax.

The race itself was kind of strange for me. Mostly, I try to be as alone as possible when I run. So running in a swarm of people was sort of surreal. I am not sure I could call it fun, but it was an experience. The fun part – the two or three times that Sandi declared she was done and she was going to walk, I was able to to talk her out of it – and she ended up getting across the finish line not walking once.

Running in my first 5k? Interesting

Helping a friend achieve a personal goal? Really fun.

Side effect? Now I am sort of wondering what a half-marathon might feel like and who will be there to make sure I don’t walk…

Happy Monday!

Jacqueline

4 Comments

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  1. Dawn
    May 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Well done on your 1st 5k!! I was SOOOO pleased when I completed mine, I never thought for one minute I was going to be able to run the whole way but I did….rather slowly but I didn’t care. 🙂
    It is amazing how much potential we all have and very often we don’t realise it till we are faced with a challenge, whatever it may be. I did 6 5ks and then decided last summer,(after a glass…or 3…of wine!), to sign up for a half!!! I just did my second in April, I am not very fast,but am continually competing with myself trying to better my time in each race. 🙂 I am doing the Peachtree Road Race (10k) on July 4th so that shall be my next challenge, especially running in that kind of heat, (I tend to wilt in the heat!!) But I shall make sure there is a nice chilled glass of wine to come home to…. 😉

    Sign up for your next race! 😉

    Dawn

  2. Katie
    May 28, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Congratulations! By the way, running a half-marathon feels incredible… Go for it.

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      May 28, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

      Thanks Katie!
      I actually just ran another 5k…so I can start to see a 10k or half in my future. Everyone says it’s fun – I have to really get my miles up!

    • Jacqueline Jacques
      May 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

      Wow – just checked out your blog – great stuff!