My husband – who has never been a runner – ran the 5K at the Illinois Marathon this past Friday night.
He began training in January, following a beginning running program he downloaded to his iPhone. He trained by himself, running two to three times a week throughout the late winter and spring.
There are many non-runners in town who have been inspired to start running by the chance to participate in one of the Illinois Marathon races. But I was pleasantly surprised (stunned, actually) when my husband joined their ranks.
When he began training, Jeff told me not to get too excited, and not to tell anyone. He was only running to be in better shape for softball season, he said, and he might not stick with it.
Of course, I told anyone who would listen. My running friends were appropriately shocked.
After all, Jeff had never been interested in running, and he thought watching people run while waiting for me to cross the finish line of a marathon was the ultimate in boredom.
Let's be clear – while I'm a longtime distance runner, I in no way provided any inspiration to him to begin running. And I've never tried to get him to run, because I knew it was not his thing.
I think the real motivation for his training (besides being more fit for softball) was seeing several of his co-workers run the Illinois Marathon relay last year.
I was thrilled to run the 5K with him this past weekend. He downplayed the occasion and shrugged off his accomplishment.
That's OK. I was excited enough for both of us.
Jeff looked up his finish time online on Saturday. He ran 33:03.
I asked, “Aren't you proud of yourself?”
His answer: “But those three seconds … “
Spoken like a true runner.