I've only been running for about a year now. I signed up for my first 5k when my son Jacob was nearly 8 months old. I had lost (nearly) all of my baby weight (hooray!) and was in pretty good shape, thanks to Jillian Michaels and all of the Biggest Loser DVDs. I signed up for the AIDs / Cancer 5k Run/ Walk to see if I could run 3 miles. I thought all of the cardio would have prepared me for the race, but it definitely didn't. I made it through the first mile, and then ran/walked the rest. I finished the race, and felt amazingly proud of myself. I marveled at the distance. 3 miles sounded SO far to a non-runner like me. For the rest of the week, my sore quads reminded me of my accomplishment and led me to train for another 5k.
But looking back, there was more than just the sense of satisfaction that I got from running that race. I didn't realize it then, but runners are amazing people. Even at the back of the pack, crossing the finish line at 39:04, strangers applauded me. I felt welcomed. I never had the sense that I didn't belong.
So this is me, now. I'm about to turn 30. I've run 6 - 5ks, 1-5 miler and a half marathon. I'm running the AIDS/Cancer 5k again, and I'm so excited to re-visit that course.