Angels Among Us- My First 5K

Let's Do this!

I’m not a runner.  I’ve never really been a runner.

Even back in the day when I played soccer, I detested running.

I believe the fact that my face consistently turns an alarming shade of red, after even moderate exertion,

Tomato Face

is a bit disconcerting for everyone involved.

I also have a history of passing out in extreme heat (and on tours of sewage treatment plants),

which often concerned my parents.

I’m not even kidding.

Hello, Tomato Face.

Scary tomato face, huh?

Scary, huh?

So over time I basically labeled myself a ‘speed walker’ and explained to people that I don’t run anymore.

It’s just not something I do. It makes me ill.

My mind filed ‘running’ away in the category labeled ‘pure torture’.

And I was okay with that for 16 some-odd years.

But recently, when I realized we were done having children, I became motivated to get back into shape.

This proved a difficult task.

I have a finite amount of time.  We all do.

I allocated 30 minutes each morning for exercise,

attempting to compensate for my extremely healthy appetite and a pretty sedentary day of homeschooling.

I would walk briskly for 2 miles on an incline and then hit the shower.

Eventually I was hardly breaking a sweat, so I began jogging a lap here or there.

I loosely followed the Couch-to-5K running plan until I hit the 2 mile mark.

The 2 mile mark was a formidable wall. I could not seem to break through.

I wondered what was wrong with me.

Did I not have any heart or discipline?

When the going got tough,

I hit the large red stop button that beckoned to me.


People actually enjoy this? I wondered.

Or they’re all liars,  I reasoned.

What the heck was the attraction?

I didn’t get it.

I shared my struggles with my hubby.

Told him I needed a carrot.

Something.  Anything, to motivate me to push forward through the difficult.

He put the deal on the table…

If I could run 2.25 miles without stopping, he’d cook dinner.

I had my carrot.

Go, Me! 


I wanted so badly to quit at the 1.5 mile mark, but the making dinner offer superseded my weakness.

I did it!

And once I recovered from the extreme exertion…

I felt good.

And after dinner was served to me that night…

I felt great.


This dinner reward system may have me pushing for a half-marathon yet, I rationalized.

The next big breakthrough I had was when I began running outside.

All the runners I knew kept telling me to hit the great outdoors, and now that temperatures had cooled a bit, I did.

My first outdoor run blew me away.

It was so easy!

And I even got to run downhill sometimes!

My treadmill had been stuck in an incline position for months,

which had apparently been part of my difficulty in pushing through the 2 mile mark.


I challenged my hubby to a little foot race and beat him without even trying.


I ran further and slowly got a little faster.  I was up to 4 miles when I injured myself in a pick-up soccer game in the backyard.

I wasn’t able to walk or run for weeks.  I missed it.

Following an 8 week hiatus, I began to get back into the groove and my injured foot seemed to cooperate.

Running is exhilarating, but running is hard.

Running makes you feel better than any cup of coffee, caffeinated soda, or good night’s sleep can.

It’s as much a psychological exercise as it is a physical one.

I always reach a point in my run when I want to quit.

I have to choose to press on.

There is something so thrilling in the overcoming though.

The victory causes you to forget the pain.

It reminds you to do the challenging and hard in life.

Choosing to fight and refusing to give up,

it makes the finish so sweet.

You feel invincible,

ready to take on the world.

Fully alive.


So I was back up to 3 mile runs and my children laughed at me when I told them I wanted to run in a race.

This of course meant I had to prove them wrong.

Hubs encouraged me to register for the Angels Among Us 5K.

It’s a great cause and would give me something to work toward.

I gathered the four oldest and asked if anyone would be interested in joining me.

I explained they would get a t-shirt for their efforts.

Gavin and Luke committed.

They began preparing a couple weeks out.

I must admit, it made me a wee bit sick when they could just run 3 miles without hardly trying.

After all, my comeback had taken months.

It wasn’t all easy though.

“I don’t get how people actually enjoy this.”- Gavin O’Melia (after completing a 3 mile run)

It caused me to laugh uproariously because I could entirely relate to his thoughts.

When my boys came down with a nasty cold virus the week before the event, I believed I might actually have a chance at beating them.

The morning arrived.

It was a gorgeous spring day.

Clear blue skies, low humidity, and brilliant sunshine greeted us at the starting line.

Me and my Boys

Can you spy my little Lukie hidden amongst the front runners?

Can u see that little guy?

A man currently battling a brain tumor spoke before the race began,

reminding me of the immense privilege to be physically able to participate in and run the race for a cure.

I was pumped.

My Competition

I placed my headphones in my ears.

I began running up and down hills all over that beautiful Duke University campus.

This was awesome…

until my breathing grew heavy and I lessened my pace to ward off the threat of a persistent cramp.

I was battling to push on.

I wanted so badly to slow to a walk.

Then I came up over the crest of that last hill and saw the finish line.

I didn’t know if I even had a final sprint left in me,

when I spotted my little cheering section.

Oh my goodness!

Those little faces were so thrilled to see me,

spurring me on with all their might.

And my Gabby moved to the forefront,

 jumping up and down in her excitement, pumping righty in the air, the biggest, proudest smile painted across her face.

That girl.

I quickened my steps and crossed the finish line, a couple minutes behind my boys.

I didn’t even hold a grudge,

because I was so proud that they’d done the hard and finished strong. ;)


I’m not sure how many races I have left to run,

but I think I’ll continue tying up my laces and stick with it. :)

“All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely.  

But dear children, do not tiptoe.  Run, hop, skip, or dance, just don’t tiptoe.”

-Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution




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