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I did it! My Couch to 5K Success Story

May 31, 2019 | Jessica Khaledi

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Running: a seven-letter word I considered bad. If someone were to give me 10 reasons to run, I’d give them 11 reasons not to. In fact, those who know me well would tell you my philosophy on running has been “Why?” followed by, “the only reason to run is if someone is chasing you or there is a fire.”

So what changed? After this very long winter, I was looking for something to get me back into a workout routine. Having two dogs, walking has always been my go to, albeit one with many pit-stops and a somewhat leisurely pace. It wasn’t quite the cardio I needed. What I needed was something to kick me into gear and give me a nice jolt. Around this same time, Fisher-Titus was sponsoring the Couch to 5K program with Norwalk Park & Rec. The program started in March and finished with the completion of the Fisher-Titus Berry Fun 5K Run on Saturday, May 25th here in Norwalk. So there it was: a great way to push myself outside my comfort zone and be part of a group working towards a common fitness goal.

The group, led by the Rec Center’s Niki Cross, met every Tuesday. As part of the 9-week program, our trainings changed each week in an effort to get us closer to our distance goal of 3.1 miles. We were to work out 3 times a week—once as a group and twice on our own. Our first group workouts were at the trail off North West Street followed by a couple runs at the Reservoir. Then, just like that, it was Berry Fun race day.

When I started this journey, my only goal was to not give up and to cross the finish line. Slowly, as I gained confidence, I knew that I would finish so my updated goal was to finish in under 40 minutes. I’m happy to report that, at 41 years of age, I finished my first 5K run in 38 minutes and 6 seconds!

Through this training, I also tapped into a new way of thinking–that cliché “mind over matter.” I found my brain shouting louder than my body. My body would shout “Not gonna make it!” and my brain replied with a “Oh yes we are!”. My body would exclaim “Running is not my jam!” while my brain ignored that statement and ordered new running shoes and shorts. My body stated definitively “I’m not doing that again, EVER!” while my brain laughed and signed us up for a few more 5Ks, including the 3rd Annual Resiliency Run in Cleveland that supports our trauma partners, MetroHealth, in raising funds to benefit patients and families who need treatment for trauma and other critical care needs.

So there you have it. I have a new found fitness hobby and I’ve downgraded the word “running” from a bad word to a tolerable one, all because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and made a commitment to do this. If you find yourself struggling to get back into a routine, or even to start an exercise plan, the Couch to 5K program is a great place to start. The support you get by being part of a group helps with motivation and signing up for race participation in the end gives you some accountability and an end goal to shoot for. Fisher-Titus and Norwalk Park & Rec offer Couch to 5K programs in Spring and in Fall. Follow our Fisher-Titus page on Facebook to receive calendar alerts for events like this.

Jessica Khaledi is Vice President, Business Development. In addition to business strategy, she oversees the Fisher-Titus Foundation, Volunteer Services, and Marketing and Public Relations, the team responsible for community sponsorships like the Couch to 5K program. For donation and sponsorship requests, visit fishertitus.org/donation-and-sponsorship-requests.