A few years ago, I started seeing my friends – you know, those super-fit, always at the gym, gorgeous mom friends – running 5K’s. While I admired their endurance and fitness, I really didn’t think I’d ever be one of those women.
And I’m not.
I’m not super fit. In fact, I’m pretty out of shape. Or I’m in shape, if that shape is a circle. I’m definitely not always at the gym. I do have a gym membership. . . I think I used it a few times a year or two ago. It’s not that I don’t enjoy going; it’s just the logistics of the thing. I can’t figure out a time to go that doesn’t mean getting less sleep, less time with my kids, or less time doing other things that are important, like, you know, work.
I think it was three years ago, after the birth of my third and final baby, when I saw the Color Run. It looked fun. It wasn’t really all running if you didn’t want to, or weren’t able to, run the whole way. I thought my super active oldest might like to do it with me (he was about three and a half at the time).
For those who don’t know, the Color Run is a 5K – that’s just over 3 miles – run/walk/jog that’s very family friendly. At various stations along the way, the crew throws colored powder at you. Pink. Green. Blue. Orange. When it’s done, you’re a mess, but it’s a lot of fun! I signed us up, and even though my oldest was a bit reluctant to go out on a wet, chilly Saturday morning, we did go. And it was a blast! I was hooked.
The next year, I took all three kids, thinking it was no big deal, I could do it. I brought the double stroller. I figured one would walk and two could ride.
Of course, nothing ever goes how you think it will.
I ended up with two children in the stroller and one riding on my shoulders for pretty much the entire five kilometers. Up and down through the very hilly and steep neighborhoods surrounding Finley Park. The kids and I had a blast. I was worn out by the end, but it was worth it.
This year, I’ve done more 5ks than ever, and I plan to do even more.
I brought just my oldest two to the Color Run this spring. So much easier with both of them walking and no stroller! I joined my coworkers on a Tunnel to the Towers 5K to support our local firemen. The two oldest are going to join me again at the SC Rivalry Run. I’d love for you to join me too!
Why should you consider trying a 5K?
It’s for a good cause.
Nearly all 5K’s support a charity or foundation. This being the case, I found out my employer will even pay my participation fee, since it counts as charitable giving! That’s a win-win in my book. They get the write-off, I get the memories and the t-shirt!
I know, trudging along for 3+ miles in the balmy South Carolina weather isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but trust me. It really is fun! You meet new friends, people cheer for you from the sidelines and there are usually some freebies along the way. I’ve scored t-shirts, granola bars, temporary tattoos and more.
It’s a great example for our kids.
Doing a 5K shows our children that no matter what your fitness level is, just getting out there and moving is important. It’s an exercise they can easily do with you and see firsthand how important staying active is to their health. There have been kids at every 5K I’ve been in. Most are in strollers, some walk, some are worn in baby carriers, but they are there. I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want my kids to know I go workout (I don’t really, but that’s not the point here). I want them to see me do it. To know that their mom is strong. She can persevere. And they can, too.
Because you CAN.
There are people who run the whole way, others come to beat their prior time, some come to compete. Don’t worry if you are not at that level. Don’t sweat it if you never even plan to be at that level. There are always people who walk, jog, or do a combination of the two. And that’s okay. A 5K seems far, I know, but you can do it. Maybe one day you’ll run. But really the only one you are competing against is yourself. I know for me, I’m really happy just to cross that finish line. It isn’t always easy, but I know I can. You can too!
Ready to run (or walk)?
The Midlands is home to dozens of 5k’s. Many are family friendly events that kids are not only welcome to, but encouraged to participate in. You can search for 5k’s in our area on Active or Runner’s World. I’m still pretty new to the world of 5K’s, so I seek out ones that specifically indicate walking or jogging is permitted. If you see “Fun Run” in the description, these are particularly great for beginners. I’ve seen a Bubble Run 5k here this year, and one with Inflatable Bounce Houses as part of the track, who wouldn’t want to do that?
Hope to see you on the course!