My first 5K: I can do this, right?

  • Well, shoes and expensive (but worth it!) anti-blister socks, I hope you're ready for this.

    Well, shoes and expensive (but worth it!) anti-blister socks, I hope you're ready for this. Melynda Findlay | Staff Photographer

Posted4/22/2018 7:00 AM

By the time you read this, I'll be just a few days away from participating in my first 5K. You guys, I'm super nervous.

I've never even remotely been a runner, and the closest I've ever come to being in a 5K was about five years ago.


It was with my boyfriend, Brian, and our friends, Ben and Melissa. Brian and Ben had been training for it -- a 5K obstacle course where they would be chased by "zombies." They did the race while Melissa and I sat in a patch of ragweed, cheered them on and munched on a giant Rice Krispies Treat.

It was great (other than accidentally sitting in the ragweed), mostly because of the company, partly because of marshmallow-y goodness and also because I wasn't the one running.

I mean, I like the idea of running; I've had this awesome recurring dream for most of my life where I'm just running and running, the sun is shining, and I'm so happy. I have a few friends who are really serious runners, and every one of them is just so Zen all the time. So there must be something to this running thing, right?

But running in practice, well … not so much. It's pretty pound-y on my knees. I am so slow. I totally run like a stompy duck. Plus, it's been a challenge to practice lately.

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Now that we apparently live in Winterfell and IT WILL PROBABLY JUST BE SNOWING UNTIL JULY, being outside hasn't been much of an option. (The North remembers spring, Mother Nature!)

And have you ever tried to run on a treadmill? I did. Once. And I fell off.

To be fair, that wasn't 100 percent running's fault, though. I'm clumsy to kind of a legendary degree, plus I'd just seen something on TV news -- a surveillance photo of a man who was the subject of a federal manhunt who looked so much like Brian, it quite literally stopped me in my tracks.

The treadmill, well, it definitely did NOT stop. (I wasn't hurt, other than my pride, and it ended up being a funny story)

Plus, if I'm being honest, being on the treadmill just gets a little old. (TREADMILL. MORE LIKE DREADMILL. AMIRITE.)

So I had to find a middle ground, and I finally did: The indoor track at the Mount Prospect Park District, which also is my gym. I ran/walked for about 45 minutes the first time. It wasn't pretty or fast and my knees hurt a little bit, but I did it. It turned out to be pretty fun, and a great way to clear my head a little.


Of course, there's also the matter of actually participating in this race. My trainer, Push Fitness owner Joshua Steckler, will be running with me, which is a relief -- he's very encouraging and has more than once convinced me that yes, I CAN do this (even when I'm absolutely sure it's going to be a disaster).

And if by some chance I come in last, I won't be forced to endure the pity claps and police escort by myself.

However, this whole thing could prove more challenging for him than for me. I'll be anxious, and when I'm anxious, I tend to do three things: 1) Cry 2) Talk nonstop or 3) Throw up. Sometimes all three!

Thank goodness Josh is patient. But just the same, maybe send some good vibes his way.

Here's the thing: Participating in a 5K isn't climbing Mount Everest; I can do this. These are just my fears about doing something completely new to me. But realistically, I know I'll finish the event -- maybe slowly, but I'll finish.

And it'll be one more thing in this challenge I was sure I couldn't do but did anyway.

How cool is that?

• Melynda Findlay is a multiplatform editor at the Daily Herald, where she's worked for 19 years. Don't tell anybody, but she's a teeny bit excited about this 5K, too.

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