“I’m On Top of the World”

Within the last year, I have decided very (I mean extremely) reluctantly, to take up running. It all started because I felt like I wanted more physical activity in my life, and running was the easiest solution I could come up with. Running had a slow start for me. First, I found a trail near where I lived and started run/walking on that. I really didn’t like doing it, but for some reason I kept making myself go. I could hardly run a mile without talking a couple long walk breaks. As a swimmer, all of the gravity and impact involved in running felt really uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to pace myself the way I do in lap swimming and I really didn’t like how sweating felt. Trust me, I had excuses. But I still went and ran/walked that 1.5 mile trail almost every day. And after awhile I was surprised when I noticed I was mostly running/jogging the trail… and eventually by the end of the summer I was able to run the whole thing without stopping! I didn’t think it was all that impressive compared to people I knew that could do quite a bit more then that, but it meant a lot for me.

In the winter, I kept running on the awful treadmill. The treadmill is infinitely worse then the 1.5 mile trail I was used to. I came up with a lot of clever excuses on the treadmill too, but they didn’t work. So I ran on it anyway. I didn’t track how far I ran or how long I was able to run at specific speeds, (mostly because I was too exhausted to use math and run) but I just kept going. I didn’t try to go for any length of time or compare my runs. I just kept running… and visiting the chiropractor. I was actually really proud of a couple of my injuries that made me feel like a runner instead of a swimmer. But your body really isn’t supposed to hurt, and if it does, buying insoles and confessing to your chiropractor are both much more reasonable solutions.

I have said every year that I have lived in Fargo that I would do an event in the Fargo Marathon, but all the years passed and I didn’t have the guts. This year, I signed up for the 5k, AND the 10k. I remember thinking when I signed up “just run the first 3 miles that you know you can do and walk the rest.” I already had all my rests planned out in my head. I told myself a ton of reasons that I would deserve a break. I gave up before I started, but I thought “well… at least I signed up.”

I had no idea what I was in for when I started, mostly because even at the starting line I was still planning to quit. When the race started, I still had my game-plan to give up mid-way in my head. But not too far in, something changed. I noticed there were a lot of people in the race that probably never thought they would get there. I saw runners wearing cancer survivor shirts, amputees, and people on the side-lines that were cheering friends on because of an injury that held them back from running.

And that’s when I realized something. I can run. For today, in this moment, I can run. Maybe there won’t be a “next race” for me. Maybe someday I won’t be able to run anymore. I work in a skilled nursing facility, and I started to realize I am surrounded everyday by people everyday who don’t have this opportunity. Suddenly, I felt so grateful that I could run. I felt fortunate that I had the ability to run. And I knew I could do it, the entire 6 miles, without stopping. I had never gone past 3 miles, but I decided I was going to do it anyway. And I had never even actually considered running 6 miles without stopping until I was IN a 6 mile race. But I set a goal to run a 10k and I wasn’t going to let myself talk my way out of it. So I started thinking of all of the reasons that I was capable and I could do it. And I have to be honest, the Fargo community was a big help with this! The spectators that lined the course are absolutely unbelievable. The signs, cheering, and homemade water stands were fantastic! I expected to see a crowd at the start and the finish, but not lined up for an entire 6 miles of running! Who knew?! I was so inspired by all of the energy from the strangers everywhere that I just kept running. (To be honest, there was one hill after 4 miles where I seriously considered taking a break, but I kept going…. And to be even more honest, luckily there was a photographer at the top that would have caught me take a quick break, so I just changed to an ugly run for a little while and kept on going!)

I saw some pretty amazing community support. To whoever had their toddler hold a sign that said “worst parade ever” and was frowning at runners, it was absolutely hilarious! I also liked “Ryan Gosling is at the finish line”, “run like you stole something!” and “if it was easy, I would do it.” If you’re looking for an absolutely motivational race to sign up for and a really great start to your summer, the Fargo Marathon is a blast!

But be careful! When you’re so amped by all the good vibes and energy, if you need to tie your shoe tighter, just stop and do that. Don’t be a hero. The shin splint you don’t get the next day will really be worth it. Don’t start mentally calling your chiropractor because you’re planning an injury… just calm down and tie your shoe. That would be an acceptable break! My leg is on fire!!!

Thanks Carissa and Sue for such a fun day together, we did it!

So I guess now I ran a 10k, which means I have to set some new goals that I am truly afraid of. But Jillian Michaels says, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”

Here’s some of what is on my ipod playlist for running! Let me know if you are interested in running my next race with me and I will hold you to it!

Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire
Bastille – Pompeii
Christopher Tin – Baba Yetu
Diddy – Coming Home
Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had
Idina Menzel – Let it Go
Imagine Dragons – On Top of the World (this was playing when I crossed the finish line, how insane is that!?!)
K’naan – Wavin’ Flag
Macklemore – Can’t Hold Us
Mandisa – Overcomer
Matisyahu – One Day
Michael Buble – It’s a Beautiful Day
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
Nicki Minaj & Rihanna – Fly
The Script – Hall of Fame
Selena Gomez – Who Says
Shakira – Waka Waka

Meg Pulkrabek RD, LRD

Miss North Dakota International 2014 

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