5K Winner

Two weeks ago, I ventured to do something I never imagined. I ran in a 5K. This was not a bucket list item or something that I had a slight interest in taking on. I was on the track team in high school and that was the very last time I ran in anything competitive. Long distance running was definitely not an activity that tickled my fancy, so you might be wondering how I ended up in a 5K. #StayTuned

The simple answer is that my boyfriend signed me up, but the truth of it all is I love a challenge. For years, I have joked that if you ever see me running somewhere it’s because someone or something is chasing me. That wasn’t a lie. However, the thing that was chasing me was actually me!

This is the case with all things in life. Everything ultimately comes from within. We are in a race with ourselves to become our best versions. We are constantly pushing forward to free ourselves of the fears and negative self-talk that keep us from fully experiencing life.

Running the 5K (albeit in slow motion at times) was an opportunity to re-program my mind. That basketball knee injury doesn’t have to be a factor in my life nor does the bitter chill of 25-degree temperatures. There will always be circumstances yelling, “no you can’t.” It’s my job to get out there and let them know, “yes, I can” – not by saying, but by doing.

Hasan (the boyfriend) who is a super athlete who works out 23 hours a day darted off with the speedy folks who run 5Ks regularly. You can easily distinguish the regs from the rest of us – they have the more serious looking running attire and convene with other runners like they’re at a family reunion. They know their race times, who’s missing from the group of usual suspects and even when the next race will be.

Anyway, he jetted off with those folks and I trotted along in the back with #TeamWeStillCount. I won’t make assumptions about those who were in my group. Just know, we all had reasons for being in the back. No one signs up and pays money to participate with the intention of holding up the rear, but needless to say, with any race, there will be folks who finish last. I was unbothered to be among the race end warriors and took my place in the group with three small, yet powerful goals in mind:

1. Finish.

2. Don’t be last.

3. Run more than walk.

At the very start of the race, my ability to successfully complete those goals was challenged. A serious wardrobe malfunction almost stopped the race before it started. Being the novice racer that I was, I selected some ill-fitting pants that had some good side pockets to hold my keys and phone. The pants were perfect for walking but had not been jog-tested. As soon as I took off, they began to make their way south. Fortunately, I caught up with them before anyone saw my bare essentials. That did create the need to hold them up for the entirety of the 5K. For the whole run, at least one hand remained inside the pouch of my hoodie securing my too large pants.

The 5K felt like it lasted for five days under those conditions, but I was determined to meet my goals on my own terms. I chugged along like the little engine that could until I crossed the finish line. Parts of me still remain on the streets of Martinsville. It was not easy, and I cursed myself more than once for participating in the torturous exercise, but when it was all said and done, I couldn’t have been prouder. I checked off all three goals and did so without exposing my bum in the frosty morning breeze.

I'm not saying I'm running in the next 5K, BUT the temptation is there to improve my time. Since it is superhero themed, there's an opportunity to be in costume, which feels inspiring. (Click for Super Run Race Link!)

Challenge yourself this week, this month…this year, to do something that scares you. Prove to your inner self that you’re not afraid to take a change on an activity that is outside your norm. Even if you never run that particular race again, show yourself you’re not scared to try. In the end, your effort will make you a winner – no medal necessary.

Want more secrets to winning at life? Check out my other blogs at www.NatalieHodge.com and follow me on social media @NatalieKHodge.

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