"I am NOT a runner!"
I spoke these words emphatically as I signed up for a Zilch to 5k class in 2013.
My body's structural alignment isn't exactly straightforward. Medical professionals say things like, "Hmm, interesting." Something one might expect with interpretive art or exploring new cultures. I exercised: aerobics, dance, walking, etc., but running had been somewhat uncomfortable.
An admittedly small, part of me wondered: Was I missing the "joy" of a morning run or the runner's high?
A friend of mine (we'll call him Jeff) had taken the "Zilch to 5k" class, enjoyed it and continued running. It sounded intriguing but a little intimidating. I wanted to see if I could actually run but I didn't want to be pressured. However, with assurance from Jeff and the instructor, Eve, as well as the commitment to myself that if I didn't feel comfortable I'd stop going, I hesitantly dove in.
The class started off slow. Even more important for me, I felt like I was able to discover what worked for me in how far I ran and how much I pushed myself. Was there encouragement? Yes, but not uncomfortable pushing. A good balance of what I needed for support to motivate and inspire me to keep going. I did extra weekend runs with Jeff occasionally. I'd set mini-goals like running/sprinting for "x" time, to that pole or so many exhalations. That was it. No weekly goals besides getting to class as often as possible.
Though "5k" was in the title, I was pretty clear there was no way I would ever get to the point of running it by the end of class. Well, the joke was on me. I ran the Irvin that year ...like actually ran the whole thing!
I was truly surprised. Had I not run the 5k I would have been OK with that. But during class when I realized that it might be possible ... I was in kind of a state of disbelief.
Some participants in "Zilch" are consistent walkers do to health concerns, etc. and, that is just fine. They are out moving, improving their health where they can. And socializing can be a big motivator, too.
I am so pleased that people like Eve are willing to take on groups like this for those who need to start at a TRUE beginning level, honoring where they are at and supporting their moving forward at their pace.
I'm not saying everyone needs to be a runner, but most of us know we need to move more. It's a chance to experiment where one can feel safe to try something new.
I'd love to see opportunities for other forms of movement and strength building for those of us who haven't had much experience with sports, etc. Some need a chance to start from the beginning; to try with no pressure, judgment or even skill.
If you are curious to try something new, Zilch to 5k starts April 6.
In order to keep moving throughout our whole life, we need to keep moving throughout our whole life. Find activity and people that inspire you.
Good luck in whatever you do to keep moving. Perhaps you will surprise yourself like I did. I hope you do!