Lucy and this Lady’s Beginners Guide to a 5k

This is the second of five posts that will honor one of my dearest friends, Lucy. She’s an über-running badass and is running the Chicago Marathon THIS COMING SUNDAY.

On Monday, I expounded (is that a word or did I just  GWB it?)  upon the glory of the c25k and how I got started running. Today, since I want to continue to pay homage to the incredible running Lucy, I’m going to go briefly recap my first two “races.” You’re probably thinking, “Molly – this isn’t about you.” But it kind of is. You’ll see.

Race #1: This wasn’t really a race. It was the “Do Life” DC 5k as part of the Do Life Tour. Ever heard of Ben Davis? His journey was (and still kind of is) really inspirational. Here’s the synopsis from his website:

On Christmas Day, 2008, I made a promise to my grandmother to get a grip on my obesity, my depression, and my life. I’ve lost 120 pounds, run marathons, and finished an Ironman. Why not Start from the beginning?

Actually, as of now, he’s finished two Ironmans. But who is counting?

Anyway, I wanted to do this run because I read his entire blog and was super inspired by him, but by this point in June (June 22), I hadn’t run more than 5 minutes straight at a time and I had never run outside. I found a lot of excuses as to why this wouldn’t work for me. But guess who didn’t let that stop me? Lucy.

Lucy said she’d run with me. She said she’d let me set the pace. She told me we’ll just walk when I get tired. She basically took it from being something scary and unknown for me to something I felt I could do. So I did it. And I walked a lot, but also ran longer and further than I had before. She was literally there every step of the way. (Note: the 5k might have been less than a 5k in the end – poor planning – but it wasn’t a timed or official race or anything, so who cares, right?)

Race #2: The September 11, 2011 Run to Remember. I’m a little obsessive about things that I’m interested in. So when I decided to do c25k, I immediately created a spreadsheet that included all the 5k, 10k, 15k, and 10 miler races in the area. Sometime, about a week before this race, I decided that it would officially be my first 5k. I didn’t want to tell anyone in case it took me two hours to finish (no worries, it didn’t), but as the date neared, I freaked out.

So I talked to some friends, and lined up The Cobra and… you guessed it… Lucy to run with me. I can’t remember exactly, but the day before, she had run about 16? 18? miles. Doesn’t matter, it was a ton of miles. And yet she woke up bright and early and drove to Baltimore to run my first real race with me. Since The Cobra regularly runs 4 minute miles (okay, that’s a lie, five minute miles), I knew I couldn’t keep pace with him.

But Lucy again let me freak out pre-race (I have to pee! I have to stretch! My hip hurts! OMG I can’t do this! etc.), let me set the pace, and kept me going through the two devilish hills within the last 1.1 miles. She told me to stop talking when running up a hill (to conserve energy), and let me zone out or just listen to her stories without responding. She told me how to successfully get water from a water station (There’s a science to it. In running, there’s always a science to everything.), and helped me figure out how to tie the chip onto my shoe (harder than you’d think). In short, I could not have done it without her. No way.

So Lucy – again I remind you that on Sunday, you will run a marathon. And I’ll be there to cheer you on, to remind you to stop talking, to hand you some water or gatorade, to make sure your chip is tied on correctly (it will be), and maybe run a mile or two with you if you need the distraction. I’ll be there for whatever you need, because you were there for me, and I’ll be there for you. (Yes, I sure did just misquote Jewel but it just seemed right.)

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