Sara Plummer: Running may be pointless but has its perks
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Monday, November 05, 2012
11/05/12 at 4:52 AM
As I crossed under the Finish banner of the Tulsa Run's 5k last weekend, I once again reflected on my favorite part of running - the moment it's over.
After months of training to jog the 3.1-mile race, it was all over, and my predominant feeling was relief. I had done it and hadn't stopped, even up the muscle-searing, tear-inducing, never-ending hills of Boston Avenue.
If you had asked me nine months ago if I would even consider doing a 5k, I would have laughed in your face and relayed my personal philosophy on running: only do it if something is chasing you.
But a surprising successful jog on a treadmill one morning in the spring caused me to open my big dumb mouth and declare, "I can handle a 5k."
My best friend Kristin, who I consider somewhat of a running nut, latched on to this declaration like a honeybadger on a cobra and wouldn't let it go.
My friend/trainer/torturer found a couch-to-5k running schedule for me online and I began my self-training this summer, starting with a two-minute jog. Several days later, I went up to three minutes. I was pretty sure I was going to die.
How was I going to run for 40 minutes when I couldn't even go five? But every other day, I just made myself go that extra minute.
I tried not to talk about my training too much. I mean, Kristin has run six marathons and nine half-marathons. A 5k is literally a jog in the park for her.
For some of my other friends, constantly moving for three miles isn't that big a deal. And thousands of people in Tulsa run that distance all the time.
But for me and my not-in-shape body, it was a huge deal. Three miles might as well be 30 to my lungs and knees, which haven't been happy with me for months now.
When I hit 27 minutes and two miles in September, it was the first time I actually thought, "I might be able to do this thing."
I had a lot of cheerleaders while I was training for this 5k - friends, family and coworkers - but Kristin was the captain of the squad.
On the morning of the Tulsa Run she never left my side, even though she easily could have run ahead of me, and she endured my barrage of four-letter words as we ran the last mile.
I can honestly say if it wasn't for her, I would have started walking, but my goal was to finish the race without stopping and she made sure that happened. She even let me cross the finish line first. That's friendship.
I've been asked if I love running now and the answer is no. I still don't see the point really. But I do like the 15 pounds I've lost and the smaller clothes I'm wearing.
I thought the moment I crossed the finish line, my morning running was over too, but come Monday, I found myself back in the sneakers jogging around my neighborhood, and somewhere Kristin was smiling.
Original Print Headline: Getting off the couch, across the finish line