i ran cross country in high school - the best thing i ever did in high school, truthfully. the sport taught me a lot about myself, my limits, my body. the team taught me a lot about myself, leadership, teamwork and unconditional support for others. it was an incredible experience, one i wish i didn't have to be without after leaving high school behind!
but since then, i've always had an appreciation and love for 5k races. 3.1 miles. it's a great and challenging distance. great in the fact that it can be a challenge for all levels (walkers, runners, beginners, novices) and that it can be fun at the same time (all those themed races are a blast). oh, and it's pretty much the fastest race you can do before hitting an actual track. i like things that can be done within an hour - not a crazy time commitment.
my past few years have focused on running 1/2 marathons as my distance of choice, but recent injuries and a numbing battle with depression have kept my running shoes off for almost a full year. i miss running and my mind and body is aching to get back into my running lifestyle, races and all.
i started slowing getting back in the running world over the past month, with a slow 1/2 hour run once or twice a week. it's been hard, but its been so good to be able to run again. a few weeks ago, brandon and i signed up for the firecracker 5k on the 4th of july, as a commitment to keep us running as we could and to do something fun and energizing to kick off the holiday.
well, it worked.
that 5k, despite the ridiculous heat, brought a surge of racing endorphins and happiness into my body. i love racing! don't get confused - i am not very fast. my 5k time was 31:25 (which i realize also isn't slow). my point is that i'm not running 5ks to race the whole race, i'm run them to beat myself. my ultimate goal is to beat my best cross country time (which is 25:04). if i can break 25 minutes before i die, i will be a very happy and accomplished woman.
but i digress. the whole point of this post is to say that the 5k on the 4th brought me back to running life, in some way, and i came up with the idea that i want to challenge myself to keep running. so, here's my 5k challenge: run one 5k a month for the next year (july's 5k counted as #1). 12 months = 12 5ks. it's not a crazy original challenge, but it's something fun that will require commitment and will keep me on the path to getting back to my 1/2 marathon days sooner than later.
now i'm on the hunt for a 5k for each month and looking for any suggestions. i'm open to traveling a bit (indiana and ohio if need be), but i thought it would be cool if i could keep my races to michigan cities (do the pure michigan thing, ya know?). it's exciting - new races, new places and a fresh mind set to get me back into an activity that i love (and respect)!
(and if anyone wants to join me in the challenge, i'd love the virtual companionship and encouragement!)