magic trimmed“I want to be able to run a 5K by the end of the year.”

This was the insane thought that, uninvited, barged its way into my brain when I was reading about the 34-weeks pregnant runner who finished 800 meters in 2.5 minutes.

I’ve never been a runner. Even when I was in shape, I never had the endurance for distance running. I never liked the burn in my lungs or the stitch in my side that always seemed show up whenever I rounded into just the second lap. I’ve always considered distance running to be terribly monotonous, a challenge too boring and too uncomfortable to bother with attempting to master it. Also couched within my thoughts about running has been “I can’t, so I won’t.”

So why the heck did my subconscious self declare, with a note of determination, that I want to able to run a 5K?

I’d like to say that it was prompted by all the zombie movies I’ve been watching lately. In the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, I’m pretty sure I’d be one of the first people to get her ass chewed. I’m like a super-size buffet. The undead would see me and be like, “FOOOOODTRUUUUUCK.”

No. After spending all day mulling it over, I really think it’s because somewhere inside, I know that I need to prove to myself that I’m capable of setting and accomplishing a goal that has always felt unreachable. I’ve set goals and hoped for things in the past few years that no matter how hard I tried and how much of myself I gave, they went the way of dreams deferred. It felt like a whole lot of failure. So eventually, I just quit putting things in front of myself to reach for. It wasn’t a conscious decision and it didn’t happen all at once, but it did bring a certain sense of perceived emotional safety. The danger of being paralyzed by fear of failure is that you don’t leave yourself open to the chance of being successful, either.

Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of the fact that I can move mountains if I want to. Unlike my past few goals, running a 5K is one over which I have 100% control. It will be hard work and I won’t like most of the journey. My lungs will burn, but it’s the endurance of my self-confidence that needs the real workout. Because belief in yourself? That’s one form of magic that can’t be just an illusion.

5 thoughts on “Magic”

  1. You got this, girl.

    I do a 5K every Thanksgiving morning (because they give me pie at the end), and my times have gotten progressively worse over the years. I don’t really care for running, I’ll be honest, but like you, there is something in me that is pushing me to prove to myself that I can do better, that I can have those (not great, but decent for me) times again. So I’m going back to basics, and doing the C25K app, taking it slowly, and building myself up bit by bit. I’m not saying this to be all, “LOOK AT MEEEE!” but just to say that I’m with you, lady. We got this.

  2. Alexicographer

    Go, you! Lots of people swear by C25K and no doubt for good reasons (for them). But it didn’t work well for me, I think mostly because it involves (very sensible) intervals of running and then walking and then running — AGAIN. I can start a run pretty much only once per day (at most). I quit even after “succeeding” at that because I never grew to like it. But then I found Dr. Mama, and her system has worked well for me. Like, I now run regularly *and* enjoy it.

    In a nutshell, her system is this: Buy good shoes and a good bra. Go out to run. Start running really slowly. Keep running (really slowly!) until you can’t run anymore or until 30 minutes has elapsed, whichever comes first. If 30 minutes hasn’t elapsed by the time you stop running, walk until it does. Wait 48 hours. Repeat. There’s more detail here: .

    If you’re going to start running in the summer heat, I find it really helpful/important to freeze 2 collapsible (Vapur or similar) water bottles and carry them with me while I run, rubbing them across my forehead, etc., and drinking the cold water as the ice melts.

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