My 5K Journey {Spring 2013}

 Before I delve into all the juicy details about this Spring's 5K training, 
I must give you some background info. 

 I tried running a few years back and 
{And there is a reason behind the all caps above. 
I hope you hear me shouting the fact that I HATED RUNNING.} 

You see, I'm a sprinter.

In life. 
In projects.
 In everything really. 
Always have been, and this many years into my life, I probably always will be. 

Junior high and high school brought many 50, 100 and 200 metre victories. 
I was short but speedy. 

So did you catch that? 

I'm not a big fan of running. 
As in jogging running. 

And so five years ago I got schnookered into training for a 5K 
(the things you do for your friends)
and ended up running two 5Ks that summer/fall 
and as I crossed the finish line with the second 5k I said, 
"That's it, NEVER again! 

with me for a minute when Jack dropped  
THIS bomb on Wednesday, April 10th at approximately 5:55pm: 

He nonchalantly said, 
"I actually can't run the 5K with Maddie on June 1st 
because I have to teach that morning at 
Iron Men so you're gonna have to run with her." 

 I'm not going to lie. 
I wanted to drop kick him into the next century. 
He KNOWS I hate to run. 
He KNOWS there's not an ounce in me that EVER 
wants to pick up the nasty sport of running again. 

 It took a few days to chew on that announcement 
but the bottom line was 
I was stuck running it. 

For our sweet Maddie. 
And not that I didn't want to do this WITH Maddie. 
But I just didn't think that I COULD do it with Maddie. 

Because here's the reality. 
I had gained significant weight. 
As in, the number was big people. 
Very big. 
I'm not light as a feather anymore. 
{Who am I kidding. I've NEVER been light as a feather. But you know what I mean, right?} 
And I was TOTALLY and 

By Saturday of that same week I put my game face on and had decided I would give it a try (only because there was no other option. My running friend Melissa is injured and my running friend Cleary had already committed to running a 
HALF MARATHON that same day so I was STUCK. 
Let's just say my attitude sucked and I was NOT HAPPY about being stuck doing this.) 

Time was critical. 


I honestly didn't think it was possible.  Honestly.

So I did what we all do in a crisis. 

I turned to Google. 

 I googled "how to go from fat and couch-bound to running a 5k in SIX SHORT weeks" to "is it even possible to run a 5k if you only have 6 weeks to train, to "what do you do if your husband forces you to run a 5k!"

No really, 
what I did Google was 
"6 weeks to train for a 5k" or something like that, and up popped several options. 

Here's where RUN LIKE A MOTHER comes into the picture. 
I know of the organization through my dear friend Cleary, 
and it's a GREAT organization. { Check it out here.} 
Plus, BONUS -- it's an awesome name for a company and I will own a piece of their clothing some day because, 
let's be real
 -- they saved my little big tushy! 

 I found their 'novice walk/run 6 week training plan' copied it down and dug in.
I mean, I DUG IN.

Come Monday morning I ran ONE MINUTE and walked FOUR. 
And I did that 8 times. 
So in a span of 40 minutes, 
on day 1 of week 1, 
I was able to run 8 minutes with 32 minutes interspersed amongst the running. 

As in, bend over heaving sort of dying, after ONE minute of running. 

Can you picture this? 
I know.
I'm owning the sorry state of my physical shape. 


And a testimony to the fact that the program worked.

Today, on the Tuesday AFTER the 5K race, at the beginning of the 8th week, 
I am proud to say that I ran FORTY minutes and did not stop one time. Not once.

How's THAT for a complete reversal. 


And in an effort to keep it real, 
I'm no jack-rabbit 
and perhaps 'turtle' comes to mind 
when I picture myself 
running along the streets of Chicago, 
and yet, honestly,
 their program worked. 

It was hard. 
I had to push through and not quit when I wanted to quit. 
It was a mental game for me. 
I ran in the rain. 
I actually ran 5 or 6 times a week instead of the suggested 3 times per week 
because I was terrified to get to week 6 and 
not be able to run 
so my inner athlete rose up after decades of sleep and said, 
do it for Maddie, Alysa. 
Do it for Maddie. 
And I'm here to say hard work pays off. 

That first time out running I was DYING with just running a minute. 
Thirty seconds in I was looking at my watch just wondering 
if I could finish that minute. 
And then I'd walk for 4 minutes, 
sucking air, 
trying to gear myself up mentally 
and emotionally for the NEXT minute I'd have to run. 

{And again, I use capitals to emphasis how INCREDIBLY hard this was for me. 
I promise I am not exaggerating. 
It was brutal.} 

 And yet this morning, 
the Tuesday after race day, I ran FORTY minutes WITHOUT stopping. 
That is CRAZY TO ME.

 And yesterday, the Monday after race day, I ran 11 minutes 
before even looking at my watch. 

Downright miraculous if you ask me. 

So that's my shout out to RUN LIKE A MOTHER. 

If you're thinking you could NEVER EVER run a 5K. 
If you're thinking you're SO out of shape that it's never going to happen.
If you're thinking there's no hope and it isn't possible. 

Then I'm here to shout from the roof tops that

If I can do it, you SO can do it. 
No matter how big you are. 
No matter how out-of-shape you are. 
I highly recommend this program. 
Look up their training programs and start. 

Just do it. 
{Nike's paying me to give them a shout out, too. 
I wish.}

I wanted to share another piece of this puzzle.

Remember that sheer hatred for running that I tossed out in paragraph two? That's a pretty big hurdle to jump. 
And believe me, back when I was running in 2008, 
I desperately wanted to enjoy it. 
I wanted to experience that elusive runner's high where they say you think you could keep running forever. 
I wanted to get to the point where I didn't hate nor dread it. I wanted it. 

But in the midst of it my attitude just SUCKED. 

I mean, really, how could I possibly think I was going to enjoy running if 
during the entire time I was out running 
I was telling myself things like, 
"I hate this. 
Why am I doing this? 
I will never like this. 
Who runs anyway? 
And over-achievers.
That's who runs. 
It's called a car. 
Get in it and drive. Don't run." 

And on and on I went. Loads and loads of negativity. 

Which we all know gets us nowhere! 

Enter faith. 

I happen to be a person of faith. 

I love Jesus and He's central to my life.

 And to my very core I believe in the power of prayer. 

So when the news hit my kitchen fan that I was nominated to be the family adult runner this spring, I enlisted several of my closest, dearest friends/family on the planet, to pray for me every single morning that I was out running. I begged them to pray that I would somehow, this time around, find a love for running to replace the deep-seeded hatred for it. And maybe not even a love but just not a hatred, ya know? 

I asked them to pray that this might be something I would enjoy. 
I asked them to pray that God would give me the ability to do this 
because I was that out of shape and had such little time to prepare. 
I asked them to pray that as I pushed the limit to run more 
than my training program called for, 
that I wouldn't get injured as I honestly couldn't spare one day of not running. 

And they prayed me through it. 
And I prayed myself through it. 

And I believe that made a difference 
in my June 1st race day! 

And yes, I did the hard work of lacing up my shoes every single morning. 
And I did the hard work of changing eating habits, 
getting back to Weight Watchers {another program that I LOVE}, 
drinking more water and all that good stuff they tell you to do. 

 I trained hard. I didn't mess around. 

I even started eating Greek Yoghurt 
as a protein boost for Pete's Sake. 

And lost 10 pounds in the process. 

Yet, for me, the key this time around was involving 
God in on this weakness of mine. 

I needed Him. 

I wanted Him to break into the mess I'd made of my physical body, 
to help me break the poor cycles I'd let myself wander into. 

I felt SO weak through this process. 
It -- rather I -- felt like a hopeless cause. 
It felt impossible. 
It felt way bigger than me. 

Not gonna lie, 
this race caused much stress and anxiety 
and I normally don't sit in those places for long. 

I found that every day I had to ask God to carry that burden for me. 
There was nothing I could do about the time crunch in which to train. 
But what I could do was include Him in the training and
 ask for His strength when I felt like I couldn't take another step. 

And so, as wonky as this may sound 
{and I promise I am so NOT wonky -- 
I really am a normal, fun-loving, happy sort of gal}, 
as I would run I would picture Jesus running alongside me. 
And I would say to him {maybe out loud}

"All right Lord, you've got to carry me this last minute because I've got nothin' left and my legs feel like cement piers out in Lake Michigan. 
Lord, we're in this together. 
I'm not alone. 
With your help, I can do this." 
{And I just repeated those types of prayers over and over again.} 

 And I'm sure my neighborhood, 
when they saw me coming, thought 
"There's that lady that every so often says out loud AND loud, 
"I was bought with a price, now glorify God with my body!"

But you know what, that verse carried me through this training season. 

To me it sort of said, "Jesus died for me and my sins and wants me to have New Life in Him and if He could endure the cross and that awful death, then why can't I get my body back in shape for Him, so that HE gets the glory. When I run this 5K, it will be about HIM and what He can do to change our hearts and give us strength." 

So I guess if you're wanting a bottom line here it's this:

 I believe that when we are weak, 
God wants to step in and help. 
He wants to carry our burdens. 
He wants us to have victory. 
He wanted to change my perspective and attitude. 


I told my friends early on that if I got to race day and could actually run the 5K, 
that it would be ALL about Him and NOT about me. 

 I hope through this post you hear me saying that without God's help, this wouldn't have been possible for me, in this short amount of time. 

 I would have shown up on race day and limped along 
and maybe run a nice portion of the race. 
But I absolutely would have been bitter about it. 
I would have tried my very hardest to do it 
and yet would have had zero joy. 

So that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Without further adieu, 
I'll share some photos that Jack took of Saturday's race day. 

And while Facebook philosophy would say to only post images of myself that are totally flattering and make me look skinnier and younger than I really am, 
I thought I'd show the real deal. 
{Because we're all sick of inauthenticity. At least I am.}

Because the real deal is this:
I have lots more weight to lose. 
And that's okay. 
One pound at a time, RIGHT?

 And maybe by sharing the real story behind the images, 
it might give one person out there in cyber-space some hope.

Honestly, when I saw the photos I shed a tear or two or twenty, because I thought to myself, 
"Wow, I thought I looked a little thinner than that."


I'm hiding behind Maddie above. 
Please tell me you do that, too?

I'm super proud of what these pictures represent. 

A mom who desperately wanted to do something for her daughter, 
with that 'something' being SO out of her own reach and impossible in her mind, 
and yet God showed up and did His thing.  

With God all things are possible!


Here's the good news:
Through this 6-week journey 
I have found a pleasure and a joy in running 
that I figured was absolutely unattainable. 

 I am continuing to run. 

That just might make me a runner. Hmmm. 

while I was putting one foot in front of the other,
pounding the pavement, 
God snuck into my heart 
an enjoyment for running that 
I never EVER thought was possible. 

I've been caught off guard -- once again -- by
God's incredible goodness 
in turning this thing I once hated
into an unexplainable joy.

Nothing short of miraculous.


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