i ran a 5k, completely

I recently told you all about how I was prepping to run a 5k. Yesterday morning I set out at dawn to do it and I did! This was huge for me, but I’ll get back to that.

I did this 5k to support research for Parkinson’s Disease, which does not have a cure. I ran this for my dad, which I wrote about here. My sisters also ran/are running this. It is a family event and a family decision. This run, for me, was all about proving to myself that I can continue to push farther than I think I can. But by doing it for myself, I am honoring my dad and his daily push to live with this disease.

How is this? Every day Parkinson’s disease slowly removes a person’s control of their motor functions while their mind remains basically the same. So this means that you can still expect yourself to function a way, but realize you no longer can. So you are pushing and driving to maintain a level of functionality in your body, as the disease cruelly takes that away. My father is a testament to turning this struggle into motivation and good humor. He rises to the challenge and pushes to be the best he can be every day. So I owe it to him to do the best I can. Part of this, is proving to myself that I will not be limited. Part of this is pushing to improve, as far as I can, while I can. I can honor my dad’s efforts in this way. And this race was a step forward in doing that.

The Run

I have previously completed a 4 mile race, ran 2 straight miles, and finished the rest with a mix of walking and running. Part of my ability to run the 2 miles, which was the farthest I had ever, was I was able to follow behind an individual who, unknowingly, was pacing me. The 5k yesterday was virtual, on my own, and personal. This was only me, my body, and my brain (and some tunes).

I had the mapped out course and set out at dawn. This 5k would be longer than I’ve ever run straight by about 25%, which may not seem like a lot, but with a body my size… it’s significant.

The first mile felt great. I had a hop in my step, the temp. was cold, and some good tunes were helping me along. I had the periodic moment of thinking about walking, because why on earth “would I run when I can walk?”, but they were easily overcome.

The second mile was a bit harder. This was the section that had some uphill and I was approaching my limit for where I’ve run in the past. Knowing that I can run 2ish miles helped push me. I would remind myself that I know I can, so do it.

The third and final mile was where it became hard for and probably the toughest physical push I have had. I was sore, and I really wanted to stop. I was now at the point where every new step was a new PR for me and my mind was using that against me. “You can still be proud of 2.5 miles, you’ve never done this before!” This is where the reminders of why I chose this race pushed me through. I want to tell my dad I did this non-stop. I want to show myself I can do this. I want this more than I don’t want it. The last quarter mile turned to smiles and joy. I knew I had the last bit and I did.

Conclusion

Thanks to many of your generous support, I raised the $300 I set out to raise and my sister’s and I are so close to our goal of $1000. It may be a humble amount, but it is another stepping stone towards better treatments or a hopeful cure.

I hate running but I love running. I plan to continue pushing myself further and as I lose more weight, will try to shoot for longer distances and better times. I am immensely excited about this result. For a person who weighs 296 pounds, I showed that my body does not have complete control over my goals and aspirations. I hope we can all remember this and push ourselves. Do it for you and do it for somebody you love.

-Ben

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