So considering my medical history and the fact that I have repeatedly made my dislike of running known throughout my entire life (my mom is an intense long distance runner, like casually ran a 50k type of intense), why would I start? Good question. The easy answer is that I was just really bored and wanted to see if I could do it, but I'm starting to think it may have also been a subconscious effort on my part to convince my mom that my entire life isn't a confused mess. So a couple of months ago, I jumped on a treadmill at my work. And you know what? I fucking hated it. Seriously, that first mile was the goddamn worst. My knee hurt, my ankle hurt, and I was about 97% sure that my lungs were going to explode and I had just spent the final 10 minutes of my life on a stupid treadmill. The worst part was that I didn't even run the entire thing. Ugh. But I went back. I kept going back and huffing and puffing until I could successfully run 4 miles without stopping. Once I hit that milestone (which was actually a pretty huge moment in my post-injury life) I decided that it was time for me to climb my Everest, also known as running a 5k. So I found one that sounded cool (the Starlight Run), convinced a guy that I work with to run it with me, registered and hoped for the best.
The day of the run came and I was so nervous it was embarrassing. My only goals were to run the entire thing and to not trip and fall down. The run wasn't until 7:45 that night, so I distracted myself by making the greatest Wonder Woman costume in the history of ever. Seriously, I channeled all of my nervous energy into the shirt and it was magical. I met up with the guy I ran it with (he dressed as Aquaman, it was great), we grabbed our bibs, went to the starting line and were ready for business. Now this is not a tiny run. There were an estimated 8,000 (!) participants, and it was right before a parade so there were a shitload of spectators. The airhorn went off and we started running.
OH MY GOD THIS SHIT WAS THE WORST.
In typical Hannah fashion, I was deeply unprepared for this undertaking. The only thing that I had taken into consideration while "training" was the distance that I needed to run. All I cared about was being able to run more than 3.2 miles. Know what I didn't think of? HILLS. Yeah. I forgot to take any sort of topography into consideration, and downtown Portland is not flat. The run started by immediately going uphill and my only thought was "oh goddammit". The second thing that I forgot to consider was air temperature. Running in a gym where there are fans is completely different than running outside. Even though this was an evening run, it was still like 75º out and I was immediately sweating my ass off. To make it even worse, I was wearing wrist cuffs as part of my costume and my forearms became the hottest and most uncomfortable part of my entire body. This is a weird body part to be acutely aware of, but all I could think of while I was running was my freakishly toasty forearms. One nice distraction was the crowd. There a bunch of little kids, and I think I gave about 75,000 high fives. One little girl was like "MOM I JUST HIGH FIVED WONDER WOMAN" and I felt like a celebrity. A very tired, very toasty celebrity. Right around mile 2.5 I was like "nope. I am so tired and so hot and my forearms are hot and I'm so tired and there are so many hills and I don't want to do this anymore".
Now I know that you're hanging on the edge of your seat, so I'll end the suspense for you. I didn't walk any of it. Mostly because John (Aquaman) kept yelling at me, but also because I was like "HANNAH 3.2 MILES ISN'T EVEN THAT FAR YOU DUMB BABY". I ran the whole fucking thing in 32 minutes, and I even picked up the pace and ran really fast across the finish line because I wanted to beat a lady that I had decided looked stupid at the starting line. Plus I didn't fall down, so Team Hannah basically crushed it. 3.2 miles may not seem like much to most people but I'm really proud of myself. After my ankle exploded the doctor and physical therapist were both like "yeah.....you probably won't be able to run again", so being able to do this was pretty cool. You know the craziest part of the entire experience? I am really, really excited to do it again, and possibly run even farther distances one day*. Does that mean I can call myself a runner? Oh my god, I'm turning into my mom.
*It should be noted that my right Achilles tendon is not on board with my desires to run any sort of long distances. It made its displeasure known by locking up all day after I ran which was unfortunate.