Monday, April 14, 2014

Couch to 5K-- Kim's Story

Hey all:  While I'm on vacation… well I want to be on vacation so I've got a few things up my sleeve to publish while I'm away, but postings this week will be few and far between.  

First up, a story from my new friend Kim.  This is a story of inspiration and how, if you think you can't you probably should just go ahead and believe in yourself because, like Kim, you CAN!  Enjoy!  

For quite some time I have been meaning to sit down and put all of these thoughts swimming in my mind into writing.  The perfectionist in me was holding me back as I felt like I didn’t have the adequate time to exactly put into words my feelings, but that ends now.  Here it goes…

I guess one could say that I started out as a FB stalker.  I have a friend who follows MomSwimBikeRun (MSBR—my own shortened version) on FB.  About a year ago I started noticing her comment on various MSBR posts.  When I think back the first comments I remember were in regards to a planking challenge that MSBR was having.  I thought that’s pretty cool, but only kept “stalking” the comments and wasn’t a follower of MSBR yet. 
Over the next few months I noticed this same friend commenting on MSBR FB posts regarding “deck of cards workouts” in the driveway.  It was the early part of summer vacation of 2013, and several moms would get together in a driveway (or maybe sometimes a yard) and participate in different workouts using a deck of cards as their guide for which exercises to do.  Yep, at this point I still just remained a stalker.  I thought it was so neat that these women would get together and exercise like this.  I imagined them cheering each other on and kids running around having fun.  A win-win for everyone, but I was too scared to ask if I could participate.  I was thinking I probably couldn’t do what they were doing anyways.
As the summer went on I decided to start following MSBR on FB.  I believe it was early August, and I started to read some of Susan’s blog posts.  I follow several clean eating, and health & fitness role models and there is something about MSBR that really hit me.  She tells it like it is and shares her awesome accomplishments as well as her true life struggles.  In my mind, this is a perfect balance.  I sent her a private message after reading one particular blog post and thanked her for being so real.

This brings us to the fall.  School has started and so have fall activities.  Wouldn’t you know it?!  Our daughters have been assigned to the same soccer team and Susan’s hubby is one of the team coaches.  Isn’t it funny how our lives cross each other’s path sometimes?  I was reading more and more blog posts and following MSBR daily workouts on FB.  I would marvel at the fact that she would get up super early to get a kickass workout in before coming to watch her daughter plan soccer on a Saturday morning!  Let alone all the weekday workouts and different races and or competitions she participated in.  I was really into following MSBR and she was becoming more and more of an inspiration to me.  Yet I never had the courage to go up to her at any of the soccer games and introduce myself in person.  I was becoming the ultimate stalker. 

Throughout the fall I kept following her daily FB posts as well as reading blog posts here and there.  One of the fun activities that Susan does is monthly challenges.  In December of 2013 she had a burpee challenge.  It was 30 days to 100 burpees (in one day!).  I went out on a limb and decided to join the challenge.  What did I have to lose?  And extra exciting was my friend Carrie from IN started following MSBR and did the burpee challenge with us.  I wasn’t doing any other consistent exercise at this time.  So I put my heart into the burpee challenge, never missing a day.  And I was so proud of myself for completing this challenge.  I even won a drawing one day and received a gift certificate to Whole Foods.  Who wouldn’t love this?
It must have been late December that I was following a post about MSBR running another race or getting ready for the Pittsburgh Marathon.  I mentioned that running had always been my nemesis, and it was a goal of mine to one day truly learn how to run.  Susan mentioned a race coming up in March, and I thought I could probably handle a 5K but had no genuine plans.  That is until she forwarded me an email from Mojo announcing their next C25K program to start in January.  After thinking about it for a few days I decided I would give it a go.  The night before the informational meeting I was getting nervous about committing to a running program.  I mean, I really didn’t think I could become a runner.  I sent Susan a PM on FB mentioning I was nervous about the meeting.  We messaged back and forth and this is basically how we really got to know each other.  I guess this was sort of a “workout buddy to be” getting to know each other session online!  Susan really encouraged me to go the meeting.  She assured me that Mojo people were fantastic and that I really had nothing to lose by going to the meeting.  I remember being so thankful that she took the time to chat with me and to encourage me to go for it!

Susan was right!  The meeting was a breeze and I was on my way to training for my first C25K.  For the record I had walked a couple of 5Ks in previous years, but never ran one!
Wouldn’t you know that this winter was one of the worst in terms of temps?  I couldn’t meet with me C25K group for all of the group scheduled runs.  One day I threw up a request on FB for someone to please run with me outside.  I think the temps were supposed to be barely in the 20’s with lots of wind and snow of course.  Naturally there were not a lot of people jumping on board for such a crazy request.  MomSwimBikeRun came to my rescue!  Susan agreed to meet me for a very cold run.  At this point in my training I was at a run/walk, and she never left my side.  I had such a great time running with her.  I mean how cool was it to be running with someone who had been inspiring me for longer than she knew?  It definitely lifted my confidence!

We continued meeting most Thursday mornings during my training over the next eight weeks.  I think it must have been either our first or second run that we discussed how I learned about her MomSwimBikeRun page through a mutual friend and that our daughters were on a soccer team together.  Yep…my stalking days were officially over.  There was a friendship developing!  I also became somewhat of a regular on her blog posts as part of the requirement of her running with you is that you take a selfie at the end of the run.  How fun is that?  I was officially a part of workout blog posts with the very woman who inspired me to go after something that I thought I could never do.  I did have to tease her after one of our photos as I noticed she slipped off her headband and fluffed her hair.  Here she was looking all pretty after a sweaty run, and I’m looking like a sweaty hot mess! 

Being the well rounded athlete that she is, Susan also does cross training.  Specifically she is a Crossift warrior!  She just so happens to do Crossfit with one of my running trainers (the owner) from Mojo.  My Mojo C25K trainer had just come from a Crossfit class one Saturday morning as we were preparing for a training run.  She told me that Susan mentioned running with me.  Susan told her that she thought I was doing very well and was going to be a really strong runner with time and training.  My Mojo trainer agreed.  Can you imagine my excitement?  I was truly humbled by this.  Never in a million years did I imagine that the woman who inspired me would not only be running with me but also thinks I have potential to be a good runner.  Talk about inspiration and motivation!

Nearing the end of my C25K training I was getting pretty nervous for running my first 5K.  Now I realize it’s only 3.1 miles, but I still had the nervous belly going!  Susan sent me a very nice message the night before and a text very early the morning of my race.  I was excited and nervous!  My Mojo trainers and peeps were all pumped and ready to go that day in early March.  I raced my heart out!  The whole time I felt like I was running so slow yet I was out of breath.  My trainer was encouraging me to keep on going and reach a certain pace, and eventually I crossed that finish line with a huge smile on my face as I saw my husband and kids waiting for me with a banner.  It was so emotional to see my family and to cheer on my Mojo family!  After all of our C25K runners crossed the line and started chatting I wanted to find out what my official time was.  I had an idea from the timer, but honestly I had forgotten exactly what it was from all of the excitement going on.  My official time was 30:16 with a 9:46/mile pace.  And my goal was to do it in 34 minutes.  Susan was the first person I texted.  I couldn’t wait to share my exciting news with her after all the inspiration and training along the way!  She knew my goal was 34 minutes, and I suspect she knew I could do it more so than I thought I could.

So does the inspiration end here?  Heck no!  The day after running my first 5K I ran 5 miles with Susan.  I think I was running with a runner’s high from the previous day!
Along with my newfound love of that great feeling after an awesome run, a handful of us from my C25K group decided to run as a relay team at the Pittsburgh Marathon in early May.  Honestly, I think Susan is just as excited as we are.  It’s because of her prompting me to sign up for the C25K training group with Mojo that I’m sitting here typing about my whole experience and how Susan inspires and motivates me.  Not only has she inspired me to become a runner, but she has also inspired me to incorporate cross training into my life.  Specifically, I’ve decided to start Crossfit! 

At the end of our C25K journey our Mojo trainer invited us to an intro class at Crossfit.  It was such an exciting night.  Susan along with my Mojo trainer really encouraged me to take this on.  I’m very excited to take on this new challenge!  And it doesn’t end there.  I’m planning on running my first half marathon in the fall of 2014.  Susan has already sent me a list of possible half marathons to start thinking about!  Haha!

So there you have it!  A very long winded version of how I started following MomSwimBikeRun.  I enjoy reading about her daily training sessions, her achievements and her good and bad days.  Susan has inspired me to go after things I only ever thought about before.  What started out as FB stalking has turned into a friendship that I will forever be grateful for.  I suspect that Susan and I will be logging many, many miles together.





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