May 24 th I will participate in my first 5k run. If you have not fallen out of your chair with laughter, perhaps I should introduce myself. Hi, I am Heather, the most non-athletic person you have ever met. My hobbies include shopping, scrapping, and cooking. None of which, will cause me pain. None of which, push me. We are on week two of training runs. I have learned real quick not to judge a book by its cover. Cause that woman over there, the one with a cast, twice my age, yeah, she is about to pass me up, big time. Nothing like being the loser in the BACK of the running group. Humble pie tastes gross. The aftertaste, a swell of insecurity and self-deprecating thoughts. Left alone with my self-pity, I would have left the trail and headed straight for Culvers for their custard of the day special. But, I was not alone. I had JJ, or Jenn, she doesn't really care what you call her. She is one of the volunteer coaches who dropped her pace back to run next to me the whole time. Our intervals were a 1.20 walk and a 0.50 run. By the second interval, I thought I would die. By the fourth interval, my legs felt like jelly. By the eighth, I had lost feeling in my calves. I moved my arms as fast as possible hoping my legs were keeping time with my will power (or lack thereof). Each time, I would try to stop running early, JJ would say "5 more seconds, you can do this." The other coaches would shout from ahead of me "C-mon Heather, you're doing great!". When the torture was over, we did cool down exercises. Some crazy lady suggested that a few planks would be fun. I was thinking, my face in the dirt seemed more appropriate. No one was taking suggestions from the kid in the back. After the session ended, many runners came up to me personally to say what a great job I had done. Great, was not at all the word I would use to describe the 26 minute run that I almost quit after minute 4 and practically had a nervous breakdown by minute 12. But the praise for effort and participation was genuine. And, as someone pointed out, I did finish. I did complete all the intervals. The completion of the task was worthy of praise, at least to my support group. I am not used to things being difficult for me. Seldomly, have I ever thought "I can't". Yet, for 26 minutes I was checking to see which runner was strong enough to carry me back to my car. This whole running thing, it has taught me that challenges are much better when faced with a friend. It has taught me that encouragement, is life affirming oxygen to the recipient. It has taught me that I need more hard things in my life. Challenges produce growth. And while my pride is having a hard time swallowing the piece of humble pie running has dealt me- my brain functions well enough to know, I needed this meal.