Two weeks ago, I was having lunch with my two oldest kids. We talked about normal things, including what they have coming up in the athletics department.
I asked them about goals and their plans. Then they asked me, “Do you have a goal in running that you want to do?” Yes, kids, I do. Many.
I launched into an explanation of a long-standing goal – run a sub-30 minute 5K. I’ve wanted to do this for many years and haven’t come close because I don’t train to do it. Taking on the half-marathon seemed more important. It’s longer, so it’s better, right?
The funny thing is that this conversation both inspired and scared me. At my age and weight, that 5K time seems like a real longshot. And I wasn’t doing well with my running. Why did I even talk about it?
The next day I put on my FitBit, blogged about it being the ultimate lie detector, and went running. The day after that, I had huge doubts and blogged about facing hard truths. But there was something in between.
On my Monday run, I listened to a Runner’s World podcast that included an interview with a guy named Ted Spiker. Ted’s a writer and has a blog on the Runner’s World website called, “The Big Guy Blog.” Big guy. Now that I can relate to.
The interview was great and Ted was genuine. Ted’s inspiration came in a form of modesty and just-get-it-doneness that captured a lot of what I aspire to be.
Then the moment came where he talked about a blog he wrote a back in 2012 about wanting to run a sub-30 5K. He told his audience he was making a club and anyone could join. Ted hoped a few people would and was surprised when many more than that did. The club grew and now has over 5,000 members.
Yet even with talking to my kids on Sunday and hearing this podcast that I could directly connect to on Monday, I was in a terrible place by Tuesday. On Wednesday, I bit the bullet and “joined” the Sub-30 Club. It’s “joined” because all you do is click the link from the blog and request to join the Facebook group. I did it, but honestly, I didn’t hold out much hope it would help me. How wrong I was.
I made my first post and BOOM! Greeted warmly is an understatement. People were encouraging right away. I posted my “Facing Hard Truths” blog and people actually read it, commiserated, and turned it all positive. Some read a lot more of the blog and let me know how it touched them and how many of the posts were exactly the battle they faced.
I don’t know any of these people, but I know them all as a group. The inspiration I’ve gained in a short time is immeasurable. I’ve always run solo, but now I don’t feel alone as I pound the pavement. When the run is hard, I know there is a group of runners that would encourage me to just keep going, finish this run. I no longer run alone.
Sub-30 Club members meet up at races and I cannot wait to see one in person. I just hope I don’t break down. The amount of courage gained in just 11 days is a little disconcerting. I mean, they don’t really know me and I could be making way too much of what’s happening. It could be a kind of “runner’s high” that will fade. But, given the posts I see coming fast and furious, and the unbelievable response, I don’t think so.
I’ve always wanted to be a part of the running community and not just a runner. That’s been tough because I’m big, slow and prone to think I don’t belong. (Please, that’s not a cry for help and it doesn’t bother me really, I am just being authentic. Damn commitments.)
I am a member of the Sub-30 Club. A new member who doesn’t really know anyone yet, sure, but a member nonetheless. I belong here. Will I run sub-30 someday? Who cares? Not me. Striving to do so with a great group of people is much, much more important. Good thing I actually listened and took action for once because it has made my life better already.