My first steps to becoming a runner

divaIf you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ve seen me write about the Grand Strand Running Club and their 5K training classes. I’ve done two and I feel like I need to purge a little. If you need the back story, check out my previous posts here and here.

When I started the journey in January, I was a non-exerciser. It’s kind of embarassing to admit, but it’s true. Sometimes I’d walk the dog, but rarely would I set out on any given day to train towards a goal or get my heart rate up. That’s sad because as a writer, my job is extremely sedentary.

As I’ve said before, I don’t know what possessed me to sign up. I just did it without thinking much about it. The only thing I remember was some reassurance I got about it only being about about increasing your fitness level. So I never started planning to run a full 5K, but merely to do it faster or fitter than I started. With that attitude, it felt like a zero pressure situation. Still, I felt a little intimidated.

I threw out the details about the class to a Facebook moms group and my personal friends, hoping to drag some buddies into this with me. To my surprise, MANY of them signed up, which made it so much easier for me to show up that first day knowing I’d have familiar faces looking back at me.

The first session of the class was nine weeks long and went from January to March. It was split up into three groups – walk, walk/run, and run. I was in the walk group as I never ran before in my life. Well not since senior year in high school, at least.

The strategy was interval training. Pick up the pace for 30 seconds, walk a minute. The next week it was pick up the pace for one minute, walk a minute, and so on. I remember the first two weeks being easy and I got a little cocky. The next weeks were brutal. The 1:1 interval killed me, as did the 2:1 set. Then there was that magic mile. That’s when you run (and walk) a mile at a pace that’s harder that normal, but something that’ll kill you. The first one I did almost made me vomit, but by the time I did it again in the second session in April, I had taken three minutes off that time!

I can’t tell you exactly when it happened, but week after week of running turned into a situation where I no longer had to rely on interval training. When I ran a mile without stopping for the first time in April, I exclaimed to a neighbor who just happened to be in his yard, “I just ran a mile! I haven’t done that since high school!” I was over the moon and proceeded to tell everyone I talked too for several days. It was big!

Then, when I ran the Diva 5K at the end of April, I just kept running. I sailed passed the one mile marker. I was still going at the second mile marker and didn’t walk for another half mile. Who was this girl? It was one who worked hard, developed faith in her abilities, trusted her coaches, and succeeded. I wasn’t thrilled with my time, but I still felt great about the race.

This whole thing has been as emotional as it has been physical. It brought me closer to friends I wasn’t seeing regularly, and introduced me to a whole crew of new friends. I gained a deep appreciation for the coaches who spent so much time away from their families to help the “students” in the training class. I’m grateful for their patience, encouragement, and information. I didn’t know how to start a running program and I’m certain without them, I would have fizzled out or even gotten injured.

Running with a group of similarly paced people keeps you motivated. It also keeps you accountable. I knew I’d have to answer to several people if I missed a class. I also knew I’d have to try to keep up with them during the next class when we upped the time by a minute. It kept me honest!

I’m a changed girl. Last night I had the opportunity to run with one of my best friends who did the class with me and while we ran, we chatted. Mid-conversation I started to laugh. We were talking. TALKING while we ran. When we first started I would tell people, “I can’t talk. Don’t talk to me.” I was seriously just trying to get through it. Now two miles came with updates on family, friends, and work. It was amazing.

Why am I writing this? I’m not sure. I think I just wanted to share how much running and changed my life. I know there’s another 5K and half-marathon class planned for August and I’ll be there. I hope you’ll consider it too. No matter your size, shape, or age, you can do it. I promise.

Want to read more? Check out the latest on the Myrtle Beach for Families blog.

About Melissa Byers

My name is Melissa Byers and I've been a Grand Strand resident for 13 years. I love living and raising my family here! We're all about the events, activities, discounts, RVing, travel, and crab cakes.


  1. […] to email me, I can be reached at Just for fun, here is a link to a post I wrote earlier in the year. I feel like this class was the best thing I did for myself in […]

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