Baton Rouge Capital Area Heart Walk - Heart Walk - American Heart Association

Ever since Conrad and I started dating two years ago, he’s been begging me to run with him. He runs several times a week. And the one time we attempted to run together, I thought I was going to die. I made it 0.6 of a mile and fell over in the grass while he carried on for 3+ miles. Whatever.

So long story short, I HATE running. I grew up playing softball, and running was our punishment. So I never understood the whole running for “fun” thing.

But since I’m the nice girlfriend that I am, I thought I would surprise him this past Valentine’s Day by training for my first 5K!

I had been wanting to sort of run but wasn’t really motivated and was all around unsure how to get started. I knew I didn’t want to train with him because I’m literally a foot and 1 inch shorter and clearly go at a much slower pace.

And fun fact… I’m actually really competitive. So the idea of starting something that I’m really BAD at with someone who’s really GOOD was just not going to work for me and my ego.

Baton Rouge Capital Area Heart Walk - Heart Walk - American Heart Association

So it seemed like almost fate that I got an email one day from the Baton Rouge General hospital that they were putting together a Running Club to train for a 5K. It was a 9-week program and would happen February – April. It would end with everyone in the group running the Baton Rouge Capital Area Heart Walk together on April 8.

It was a sign! The Heart Walk is especially special to me. My dad had to have triple bi-pass surgery several years ago, and I was put on blood pressure medicine at age 23, so heart health has been a top priority the past several years.

I knew it was a sign, so I hit reply on a whim and said “sign me up!”

The next week we went out for our first day of training. There were 52 of us total. The training program was a standard Couch to 5K program, but there were people there on all running levels. There were people who had never run a full mile in their life (aka me) to marathoners.

I was a little anxious and intimated, but I think that helped me push through my first mile. On my first day out I ran over 1.5, miles and walked the rest. I didn’t come in last place and I didn’t die, so that was a plus in my book.

The HARDEST part was keeping my training a secret from Conrad. I had decided that I wanted to surprise him with everything after I’d been doing it a while. Also, I was scared I would quit and didn’t want to get his hopes up! Lol

Keeping it a secret was especially hard the first week or so when I could barely walk, sit on a toilet or get down the stairs like a normal human being.

I decided Valentine’s Day would be the perfect date to tell him what I’d been working on. To surprise him, I made him this “Save the Date” card (below) and signed us BOTH up for the walk/race.

Baton Rouge Capital Area Heart Walk - Heart Walk - American Heart Association
BUT as luck would have it, the first day I made it the full 3.1 miles around (running two, walking one), I hurt my knee. This coincided with the same weekend as Mardi Gras, so the combination of running, walking around at parades and all the other shenanigans just wore my knee out.

I had to go in for x-rays and get put on a few medications to help with the pain and inflammation — oh, and wear that terrible knee brace.

I cut out all running and exercise for a few weeks to recover. And once I started going back to the gym, I didn’t return to running for about 4 weeks total.

So this put me just a couple weeks away from the race with very little training and never actually making it a full 3.1 miles.

The only thing that made me feel better was that this was technically a Heart WALK, and I knew most people would be walking — except for my running group.

When race day came I just winged in. Probably not the best idea coming out of an injury, but I ran 2.3 miles, then walked for 0.2 miles before running and finishing the rest!

It was a HUGE accomplishment and got me thinking of goal setting in a new way — and really what you CAN do in just 9 short weeks — failures and setbacks included.

Was my run perfect? No. I walked a little. And it took me a little over 10 minutes a mile. Far from perfect, but I got it done. Now, I can work on perfection and getting better.

So what it is it that YOU want to do? Take out your calendar and count out 9 weeks. Whether you want to save up money for a vacation, learn how to do calligraphy, lose weight, or run your own race — whatever it is!

Then pick out at least 2-3 days per week that you’ll spend time working toward that goal. It can be 30 minutes or less!

Will you absolutely master whatever your goal is? Maybe. Maybe not — either way — you’re doing something about it!

I’ve already marked my calendar to run a 10K in 9 weeks.

And… I’ll admit that running has grown on me :)


p.s. 5 Things To Do If You’re NOT Running the Louisiana Marathon + My Weekly Workout Routine

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