by Carrie Frye, Editor

If the title caught your attention, I promise to explain. I began a challenge to start running on Feb. 22. I have always laughed about not running unless being chased, so the whole idea seemed inconceivable but somehow still achievable. I knew it would be tremendously difficult, but I also never knew how the endeavor would change me.

Change is always hard but sometimes necessary, especially if for the good and a better self. I downloaded the Couch to 5K® app and followed it, mostly daily.

With running, one begins by walking, which sounded incredibly too simple. However, when the walking turns to jogging, your mind changes quickly, and second thoughts want to prevail, but in this case, I wanted to prevail more. So, I walked and jogged. Each workout gets progressively longer and increases running in short increments, until it jumped from a 5-minute jog, which seemed achievable, to 18 minutes, which just seemed cruel and unusual punishment, but I did it.

Sixty-two days later, I have four pairs of running shoes, multiple pair of running socks, running pants—not the tight kind, moisture-wicking shirts, special blister band-aids and a very new perspective.

As a small team from my office signed up for DAV 5K Run to Honor Veterans in Carthage on April 5, I had just enough time to complete the running app. To prepare otherwise, a few of us walked together afternoons after work, building more than strong legs but a true camaraderie. Although I walked for most of the event that Saturday, one teammate never left my side, and all six of our team finished the race. We didn’t break any records that day, but we crossed the finish line.

Since the race, my co-worker friends and my dad continue to inspire and support me, lacing up their walking or running shoes to head out with me. I don’t want to walk less than the 3.1 miles (the 5k equivalent), so that’s always my goal, and I average about 4 miles on my mostly daily outings, weather permitting.

I lace up my new Hoka One One® running shoes—the best investment I have made in a long while—and head out to the park or trail, usually with a friend or my dad. We start walking together, but each goes at his or her own pace in the end. As other walkers and runners pass, each on their own journey, I cannot help but notice the scent of sweat and fabric softener that lingers in the air, and what a difference it is making for me. I am working on my pace and trying to get better incrementally both with running and the one who inspired me and challenged me to even begin this journey. So, it’s time to lace up my shoes, for I have some miles yet to go to see where this journey leads.