I’ve never really been a runner. I always wished that I was and often would try for a short while. I’d set little goals and decide to run for awhile. The treadmill has always driven me crazy, so usually after a week or so, a rainy day would come or the morning would be too cold and my running regimen would come to an abrupt halt. Despite my running inconsistencies, I do workout pretty regularly and consider myself capable of practically anything, so when my sister called me up 2 weeks ago and asked me to run a 5K with her the next morning, naturally my response was, “Sure!”
We ran in the Race to Cure Lymphoma, Flat as a Pancake 5K. As I mentioned before, despite my regular workout schedule, my running has been practically non-existent over the last 2 years. But something amazing happens the moment the gun sounds and 300+ sneakers strike the pavement all at once. All of the sudden, you are part of something, part of a collective group, searching for a common goal. You find a target and you create a competitor–someone to beat. Even as the ache makes its way up your legs and you feel the burn in your lungs and your body screams “give up,” you press on.
The moment that your final stride takes you across the finish line, the emotion is palpable. There is a certain sense of achievement– regardless of the length of the race. This is followed by the flush of endorphin that creates a euphoria that you’re unlikely able to achieve outside of a controlled substance. This is the “runners high” and it is amazing!
A certain amount of any physical exertion can create the same response, and the feelings of invincibility increase exponentially. I found myself clicking to register for another 5K the following day, just hours after the first had been completed. Thankfully I had a voice of reason that encouraged me to take it slow as I was easing myself back into running. When I awoke the next morning from the screaming ache of sore muscles, I was relieved that I didn’t have another 3 miles to clock but still longing for another race bib to add to the collection.
Fortunately, St. Louis does not lack in races and a few have been added to the schedule for the near future. I’m thinking a Halloween 5K and the ever popular “Gobble Wobble” to start with. Big River Running Company hosts many of the races in the area and their race calendar is a great place to start planning your own race schedule.
So lace up your running shoes and find me at the starting line!
Featured image taken by Abigail Keenan