Guest Post: Double dare you.
When it comes to running, I’m still not convinced. I didn’t have the greatest first race, and can’t say I’m hooked, but I did it. My biggest cheerleader through the whole thing was Briana, my little Nurse with a Purse. She encouraged me after each run, asked how training was going, and even went as far as calling me a “runner” after my race was done.
Though I think she is crazy, I understand now why she did it. It only takes one person and one request to change a life. Amy asked her to do her first run; I had Jenn. If I ever become a good runner, I will race with Bri (that’s not a promise, it’s a grand, sweeping statement).
Oh, while you’re at it, follow me, too: @laurabridgman
I signed up for my first 5K in the winter of 2009. My friend Amy, an experienced marathoner, told me she thought it’d be fun if I ran the race “with” her. Why not, I thought. What’s the worst that could happen? So I started running. I didn’t follow a formal training program. I just got my butt to the gym a few days a week and logged a few miles on the treadmill here and there. Never once did I take my training to the streets. Who runs in the snow anyway?
Initially, my pace was beyond slow. An average 3 miler took me about 35 minutes. And those 35 minutes weren’t easy. A lot of them were quite painful honestly. But I stayed consistent and as long as I ran, I was happy. I had no concerns about timing.
4 weeks later, it was race day. I lined up on the Vegas strip in an MSU t-shirt, unaware of what was to come. Little did I know that the next half hour would trigger something within me that would forever change my life. I took the strip by storm and 27:30 later, I finished my first 5K.
A few months later, I ran the Race for the Cure 5K in Detroit. Again, loving every minute. There I was, two races under my belt, yet nothing around my neck to show for it. After a couple months off and an unnecessary amount of pounds gained, I decided it was time to pursue something bigger. I signed up for the Country Music Half-Marathon, put together an official 16 week training schedule and got serious.
Training consisted of short runs on the treadmill and long runs on the trails of Birmingham, AL. I ran hills. I ran in heat. I spent countless hours with just myself and my music. By time race weekend came, I felt ready. But how did I really know? I felt like I had done the necessary work, nutrition included. I think I was just excited to rock my personalized half mary tshirt 🙂
On Friday, I drove up to Nashville, met up with my friends, and went to my first race expo. The excitement continued. The race atmosphere was unlike any other. All these people are cray cray like me?! Alright! That night I enjoyed a delicious pre-race pasta dinner and a beer. Then I tried to sleep. No such luck.
Saturday morning/race day came before I knew it. After a Clif Bar and a crazy bus ride to the starting line, I made it to my corral with 20,000 of my closest friends. The gun went off. Then I ran. I ran hard. I took the hills like a champ. I had trained on them, they weren’t a big deal to me. It was hot and humid outside so I made sure to keep hydrated. I ate Gu when it was given to me. I made a goal with myself to keep passing people. As long as I kept passing people, I knew I wouldn’t come in last. And last I did not come in. I approached the finish line and immediately started to cry. I started to wheeze. I truly couldn’t believe what was happening. I threw my arms up in a high V and crossed that finish line prouder than I had ever been. 13.1 miles in 2:06:24. DONE!
If I wasn’t hooked before, I certainly was hooked now. Especially after having that medal placed around my neck. I floated on my runner’s high cloud for days. And I’m happy to say that post-race feeling hasn’t let me down yet. To date, I have completed 8 half marathons, countless fun runs, and just this past year, my very first 26.2! And you’d be happy to hear that I now love running in the snow.
I can’t and won’t tell you that I run every day. I can’t and won’t tell you that running feels good all the time. But I can and will tell you that running has changed my life. Running has helped me establish goals. Running has kept me healthy. And running has allowed me to make some of the best friends I never knew I could find. And it all started with someone asking me to give it a try.
If there’s something you have thought about doing but just haven’t felt like you could, I dare you to try. Actually, I double dare you. What’s the worst that could happen? You fall in love? You change your life? Doesn’t sound so bad to me.