I knew I should’ve trained for that 5K…..Oh well! The important thing is that I was out there for Operation Once in a Lifetime, running — and then walking, and then running and then walking some more — with the Marines (until they left me in the dust). My thighs are feeling it today, baby!

Man, I wish I’d get bitten by the running bug. There’s nothing sexier than saying, “I’m a runner” or casually mentioning that you ran ten miles this morning like it was as natural as breathing.

I tried it before. Remember that time when I actually bothered to train for a 5K? It took me two months to prepare, getting my breathing and running rhythm down…making sure I had the right running shoes for my gait and the perfect sports bra to hold these puppies back. On Saturday mornings, I’d show up at the lake where all the runners instinctively knew to gather. They were training for everything from Iron Man competitions to a one mile fun run. I’d show up at 6am and there would be mud-spattered mad men running down the hill, wild-eyed and panting as they were just finishing up their morning training. It’s like they all drank some Kool-Aid that I wasn’t allowed to sample yet because I hadn’t proven that I had the will or the determination to be there. And I looked at all of them with their fanny packs strapped around their slender waists, fanny packs filled with water supplies and tubes of goo — literal GOO — that would sustain them until they completed their missions, wondering if I could ever be that person. I was introduced to a couple of their secrets, like TRUE runners don’t listen to music. It’s all about the breathing, man. The breathing and the pacing of your steps. That’s the only music you need. And I also learned that sleeves are substitutes for hankies. Gross, but true runners don’t care! It’s all about the running.

So I did my first 5K a couple of years ago. I wasn’t out to set any records. My only goal was to run the entire thing without stopping to walk. I lost the ability to communicate with my fellow running buddies as we passed the Mile 2 marker, but I accomplished my goal. I never stopped running until I crossed the finish line.

kellie-blog-pic-111014This time? I just decided to wing it. I felt like the Marines shouting out their cadence would be motivation enough for me to hang in there and not humiliate myself. I was wrong. I think I made it to mile one before I had to take a little walking break. I got separated from my pack for a minute there, but then I dug down deep and managed to catch up with them again. The minute I accomplished that goal, I broke down and started walking a second time. And though I tried that combination of walking and running and walking and running, I never saw my Marines again. Hey! What happened to “No man left behind”— ????? But that’s okay.  I managed to cross that finish line — eventually — with my little troop of one. There was no fanfare for me other than the little “Yay!” I gave myself when it was finally over.

And today, I’m nursing sore thighs and promising myself only one thing — I will definitely be back to run with the troops again next year, only this time, my goal is to leave the Marines in my dust.
Listen to Kellie tell her story below!