Since 2010 St. Patrick’s day has held a much more sentimental reason to me than drinking beer, wearing green, and pots of gold. Although if you would like to send me a pot of gold that is fine too! Eight years ago, I ran a 5k on my college campus that would change the path and direction of my life.
You can read my entire running story here or in the tab above.
When I was a college sophomore, I saw a sign at the gym that said if completed the annual campus 5k you would get a free long sleeve t-shirt. As a college student, you can never have enough things to stuff in your dorm room. My college roommates always appreciated my hoarding. I had plenty of short sleeve shirts, but long sleeve shirts were something I was always looking for. All I had to do was sign up for a 5k and complete it?
Okay, sign me up.
Sign me up, and I didn’t run an ounce beforehand.
Keep in mind my running history previous to March of 2010 was lackluster. I barely passed the mile countless times in both middle and high school…Passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12.
At my high school, you didn’t have to take gym after 10th grade. So after 10th-grade gym class, I avoided running like the plague. Thinking out loud, the only two times I had run was to “impress” upperclassman on the swim team. It wasn’t impressive, and I made a goober out of myself both times.
I wasn’t terribly athletic and certainly wasn’t coordinated through high school. I did swim competitively and did enjoy that. During the offseason from swimming, I went to the gym and used the elliptical or lifted weights.
It was nice to keep cardio and strength when I wasn’t swimming but I never (not once) used running as cross training. Long story short I had no idea what I was getting myself with a trivial campus 5k into but the phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” comes to mind with this race.
The race itself was a blur, and I finished around 24 minutes. I don’t remember the exact time, but I remember not dying, texting my shocked marathon running dad, and picking up my t-shirt. (of course, I didn’t tell my parents I was running this 5k…I didn’t want them to ask if I didn’t finish.
Of course, I didn’t tell my parents about this 5k, I didn’t want the embarrassment their daughter couldn’t finish a 5k.
After the race, I wore the t-shirt all around campus the following day. I beamed with pride, smiling at random strangers also wearing our cheap cotton long sleeve shirts.
After the race, it wasn’t as if I magically became engrossed with running. The race did make me realize running wasn’t all that bad. I ran when it was nice out which ended up being 10-20 miles a week for a good portion of the spring. When it was sunny, I would run the same 5k loop around campus. When it wasn’t nice out, I wouldn’t run. I would just go to the gym.
I mark St. Patrick’s Day as the official day I got my running start because at that point I considered myself someone who didn’t hate running anymore. When you fail the mile test multiple times in grade school, it’s hard to like it.
I didn’t sign up for another race until the following July over break. My dad had asked me if I wanted to run both an 8k, and 10k but I turned him down because it was too far. From there, I slowly ran more and even walked on to my college D3 cross country team. I never had a “stand out season” there, however it was what I needed at the time. You can read my entire running story here.
One of my first collegiate cross country races.
After that, I began to consider myself a runner:
I didn’t run every day.
I didn’t run fast.
I didn’t log my mileage.
I didn’t run when it was the cold, windy or not perfect weather.
I had no desires to run with anyone or at a specific time…
I didn’t run any more races until July.
But I ran…and when I did I enjoyed it.
You’re a runner if you say you are and that is all that matters.
Questions for you:
When did you get your (workout) start?
How was your St. Patricks Day weekend?