Once I asked marathon runners what the best part of running that distance was.


Once I asked marathon runners what the best part of running that distance was.

Their answer?

The finish line.

Saturday I?found out just how true that statement was!

Allison Park was the scene of 400-plus runners from all across the area who gathered to support suicide prevention in the “Breaking the Ice” 5k and 10k run/walk event.

When I was first approached about entering the race in late February I figured I would not have the time to train to run it.

The last race I ran was my senior year in cross country almost 20 years ago. Birth of children and life can put a lot of distance between being in that type of shape again, if it was even possible.

However, my friends have all become “runners.” Two years ago they donned a pair of running shoes and have been running 5k races all over Minnesota since then.

“Racing is so addicting!” they told me. “Just try it.”?

Ha! Have you seen me?

Before Christmas one of my friends convinced me that signing up for the Warrior Dash in the Twin Cities this summer was a good idea. It is a three mile race with an obstacle course. We run, climb rope walls, swim through streams, crawl under barb-wire through mud and jump over hot coals.

At that time I figured I had time to train. However, the months have been ticking by while I  have remained relatively inactive, at least in the running front.

Since “Breaking the Ice” was a run/walk I figured I could not possibly humiliate myself if I?had to stop and walk. And I reminded myself that the Warrior Dash in June wasn’t that far away. I had to take action now. Or at least see if this was something I could forgo without an untimely death by oxygen deprivation or injury.

When I was training for this “Breaking the Ice” I inevitably had to walk during each training session. Until race day I had yet to run three miles at one time, without stopping.

Race day dawned a breezy, cloudly, overcast sky with occasional drizzle. I showed up about 45 minutes before the race to take pictures for the newspaper and warm up.

Warming up was virtually impossible. I hated to take off my two sweatshirts and pair of lined running pants to line up for the race.
Other more “seasoned” runners where there in running shorts and breathable tank tops. Their goose bumps were small compared to the giant goose eggs I?was sporting.

“These are perfect temperatures for running!”?the seasoned race veterans told me.

I seriously considered retreating to my car and driving away. But  too many people in town know me and saw me with my bib number on.
Eventually, a mile into the race I shed my remaining sweatshirt once my body went numb, either from exertion or the cold—or both.
I crossed the finish line at 35:07. I was sure I read the time wrong due to oxygen deprivation. Could I?have possibly ran an entire three miles and come in under 45 minutes?

Race results confirmed it. I had indeed ran my first 5k in just over 35 minutes.

Even better is that a fellow racer reminded me later that due to the large crowd that lined the starting line, I?really didn’t start running until about the 40 second mark.

I posted my accomplishment to Facebook on Saturday and was overwhelmed at the responses I received from past cross country teammates and my friends who recently became runners.

“I told you it was addicting!” one friend posted on my wall.

“Way to go!” was another.

“I’m running triathalons now,”?one of my former teammates wrote. “Want to join me?”?

I think I’ll stick to 5k races.

I’ll admit recovery isn’t as easy as I?remember 20 years ago.

I either strained a rib muscle or put it out. Moving my neck to the left, turning my body in either direction, or breathing, for that matter, seems to hurt.

Advil and a heating pad have become my new best friends since race day.

Remarkably, true to my friends words, racing has become addicting.

I already have one race a month lined up until August!

I may still be suffering from lack of oxygen.