why i started to run & how i finished my first 5k


about 12 weeks ago, my dear friend, kara, & i put feet to pavement in an effort to train for our first ever 5k. 

this decision was sparked by our participation in a get healthy experimental collective through our church (experimental collectives are kind of like "small groups" or "community groups" except we try to do stuff  in hopes of enriching our lives, the lives of others & our walk with jesus). we had been walking together each day for over a month when we decided to start running. 

the only hang-up? we weren't runners. we were awkward, uncoordinated, crafty-types with not one athletic bone in our bodies. or at least that's what we told ourselves. 


we both downloaded the couch to 5k app on our iphones & began the first day. we ran for 90 seconds & almost passed out, but we did it. & we kept doing it. my hands were high to the heavens when we ran our first five minutes straight. i took a gloriously sweaty picture of us when we ran our first twenty minutes. distance didn't matter in the beginning. we didn't care about minutes per mile. we only cared about finishing & finishing together.


the couch to 5k program has been a life-changer for me. i get all misty-eyed just thinking about how radically different i feel now than 12 weeks ago. i have lost some weight, a substantial amount of inches & that nagging back pain. i also feel lighter, happier & am better able to control my moods. i am that person who can say, "i got my life back." 

the couch to 5k program inspires you to keep going. it creates goals that are achievable. when i tried to run before, i would get really bummed out if i couldn't run a mile on my first try. that's just ridiculous! the couch to 5k program allows you to let go of those self-made, unachievable goals & set your mind to something that is created by trainers who understand where you are & how you can get to that awesome 5k mark. 


after over two months of training, we crossed the finished line of our first 5k. those many weeks of training three days a week, on summer vacations, in the heat of the day, waking up early to meet each other at the corner, & running in the rain were absolutely worth it. we ran the entire time & it felt gloriously good.


we are the awkward, uncoordinated, crafty-type runners. since our success with our first 5k, we have downloaded the couch to 10k app. we are also tracking our miles/time with runkeeper. we are up to 4 miles right now! it's an addiction. 

here are a few tips on getting started (if we did it, you can do it! i promise.):

+ download the couch to 5k app or print off the program from your home computer.
+ find a running partner. kara is the most dependable person i have ever met & we have formed such a rich friendship from being vulnerable together.
+ commit to running three times a week. pick a time that works best for you & stick to it. if you miss a day, wake up early & do it the next. just keep going without guilt.
+ tell others. i have shared my running journey on my personal facebook page, with friends & through my personal IG hashtag #nataliegetsfit . it keeps you accountable, inspires others & allows you to gain some great input from other fellow runners.
+ eat well, drink more water & sleep! how you run is a direct result of what you put into your body. do these three things each day & you will perform better. i have learned this over time & it feels like some serious punishment when i run after a day of not picking up a glass or water.
+ love yourself in the now. love who you are & what you can do now. don't wish for something you aren't or what you might be in the future. enjoy & savor the now.

happy monday, friends!
love,
natalie

17 comments:

Nicolette Gawthrop said...

well done, friend!!! well done!

Emily said...

Way to go, Nat! That's awesome.

fine as frog hair said...

Hi sweet girl. My name is Melinda Quinn. I am probably old enouh to be your mother (almost 48) bt I wanted you to know how much this post inspired me! I am NOT athletic by any means and about 75lbs over weight but I havenbeen trying (very hit and miss)the K25K for about a month now. Since I am so hit and miss I feel like I keep restarting week 1 and am on the verge of giving up altogether. BUT this post has reignited a fire in me. I have always wanted to be "a runner" but could never stick to it. I want to use running as not only a way to get fit but also as a way to practice self control and sacrifice in my "run" with the Lord. Thank you thank you thank you for your words...they are life giving! Peace

Holly said...

It has been great watching you succeed! Yay to Kara too!

SATSUMA said...

Congratulations Natalie!! I,m going to try it!! :)

maryrachel said...

I follow you on instagram, and hopped over here to read your post... So inspiring! You make me want to get out there and run. Keep it up! :) Thank you for sharing this.

Kathie said...

Congrats! I just finished my second 5k over the weekend and I can totally relate. Go You!

Gaby said...

go you! that's awesome.

leader of the pack said...

That really is wonderful. Running is fantastic. I got into it two years ago, but I've been much more diligent about it these past several months. I usually only do a 2 mile, but I could easily do 3, and used to do 5, but I've been focusing on getting my time per mile down now instead of how far I can go. You feel so accomplished afterward!

La Wood said...

Well done!! I would like to start running but I keep telling myself that I am too old to do it (I am 40) and that my back and neck pain will stop me...
Do you want to know what impressed me in this post? That you run for your church group!! I can't even imagine a church that wants you to love you more... I am catholic and I live in Italy and the only thing that church teaches is "love the others even if this means you have to suffer, forget happiness, love the poor, don't love yourself, before doping something for yourself do something for the others" and I am not speaking of my local church only...

PS: it is my first comment here. I recently found your blog and I like it so much!! :)

Brittany said...

i love this post! you make running look fun, and your candidness makes it seem doable. so many people think they can't run or (like my husband!) think running just plain hurts. yup, it hurts sometimes, but it can feel good, too. more than anything, it's such an emotional boost to plan to run, train for it and then complete a race. thank you for the encouragement.

nikko said...

First time commenter, just wanting to give you a high five! I started running about 4 years ago, and lost about 60 pounds in those 4 years! I'm currently training for my second half marathon. If you would have told me four years ago I was capable of running 13 miles I would have laughed in your face! I agree, it is life-changing, especially for those of us who never thought our selves runners or even athletes! Great job!

Ali said...

Congratulations! I started the couch to 5k but wasn't able to finish due to medical issues earlier last month. I am hoping to start up soon, though! This post inspired me. Now, off to get some sleep!

Thanks for your blog!

Ali said...

Congratulations! I started the couch to 5k but wasn't able to finish due to medical issues earlier last month. I am hoping to start up soon, though! This post inspired me. Now, off to get some sleep!

Thanks for your blog!

iHanna said...

What a great story! Yay you!

Kaylan said...

this is so beautiful and encouraging, even from someone's perspective who probably *is* considered to be a "runner". so great to hear about your journey!

sara f said...

that's inspiring. i really needed to read this. i don't have a possible running partner nearby, but i would love to start some sort of routine.
thanks for the encouragement :)
and good job!

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