When I was about to be a senior in high school, my sister Jaclyn said she was going to go out for the cross country team that Fall. I said, "Maybe I will too." She then gave me a look of disbelief as my mom said, "Yeah right, you could never do that." Apparently, people considered me lazy just because I didn't always show up for my classes, try very hard, or put any effort into the sports I did play. My mom continued with "I bet you 10 bucks you couldn't make it through one season of cross country." It was then that I decided for sure to go out for the team.
A week before school started, my sister and I showed up for the first cross country practice. That was the day I learned that to join cross country and win $10 from my mom, I would be required to run. And run a lot. In fact, every single cross country race was a 5k. That's 3.1 miles, or what I used to refer to as "wayyyy too far, are you kidding?"
My first race was at Radnor high school. I finished the race in 44 minutes and was second to last out of all of the competing girls. Jaclyn, who has asthma and bad knees, was dead last at 45 minutes.
When I told two of my friends about the race, they both expected me to quit right then. Apparently, I was considered a quitter just because I quit basketball, viola, guitar, and gymnastics. They each bet me $10 I wouldn't last the season. I cleared out my wallet and made room for the $30 that I would soon pocket once I made it to the last race in November. I decided if I had to run every race that Fall that I may as well get good at it. I started to train (welllll, I showed up for some of the practices and ate a lot of pasta and popcorn for the carbs...). Soon enough, I got pretty good. I ended the season with a personal best of 21 minutes for a 5k.
Fast forward 10 years later and I'm trying to become a runner. I have been trying to become a runner for about 6 years. I really feel like this is my year though. I bought a runner's insulated shirt, I might buy some new sneakers (still using the ol' cross country shoes), and I have a tab open on my computer to sign up for a 5k in San Francisco. That's a pretty good start. After doing some light outdoor runs for the past couple of weeks, I went to the gym today to see just how far and how fast I can run. I ran a 5k on the treadmill in 33 minutes, which is sadly better than my first race back at Radnor High. The goal is to be at 30 minutes next weekend. If I can get to 24 minutes at an official race this spring I will be thrilled. Wish me luck.