Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Conference "Fun Run" - Living my Values

I am currently at a conference, traveling for work. Many of the conferences I've attended over the years have a morning "fun run" available for attendees. In theory, I'm very supportive of having this option. In practice, I've never taken advantage of it. It is easy for me to come up with any number of excuses that prevent me from joining:

  • Packing running stuff takes up a lot of space in my suitcase
  • I have to get up at least 60 minutes earlier than I normally would for the conference, and I am likely already feeling sleep-deprived from the business travel and longer days
  • I feel (a little) uncomfortable with work colleagues seeing me in exercise clothes 
  • I am worried that I won't be able to keep up with the group

In the end, they are all just excuses. I promised myself that for this conference, I would go to the fun run. I would live my values. The night before the fun run, I made sure to tell others of my plan, including Sam, who was leading the fun run. This would help keep me accountable. I laid out my exercise clothes the night before, and set my alarm for 90 minutes earlier than I would have if I weren't doing the run (ouch).

I didn't really want to get up when my alarm went off. I was tired. It was drizzly outside. But it helped that I had made a promise to myself and a commitment to others so I got up and dressed and went down to the lobby to meet the crew that was assembling:

I still felt anxious about being able to keep up. Sam assured us it would be a slow run. He reviewed the course plan with us - a bit of weaving though Crystal City and then over a bridge and onto the Mount Vernon Trail. Turn around at 2 miles (Gravelly Point) and back the way we came. So anyone who wanted to slow down or turn around earlier on the trail could do so and Sam would pick us up on the way back. 

We left the hotel and started off through Crystal City. We were definitely going too fast for me, but I realized I needed to keep up until we got to the trail or else I wouldn't know how to get there. So my first mile was 10:28, which was slower than the group (I had lost the visual on them by the time we got to the trail), yet faster than I've run a mile since I started running again a couple of years ago. 

So my fear of not being able to keep up with the group had come true, yet it was okay. I knew where I was, I knew the group would be coming back at some point, and I pushed the trail safety concerns to the back of my mind. We've had some incidents on the Northern Virginia trails in recent weeks (including an attempted abduction of a runner just two days ago on one of them), so I wasn't thrilled to be on the trail alone, but I stayed alert and kept in mind that it was probably only for another ten minutes or so. I passed Reagan National Airport and took a selfie:

I went on by myself at a much slower pace and soon saw Jennifer and Annie, with whom I had been running at the beginning. They had turned around early and transitioned to walking, so I turned around and fell in step with them. I was relieved to no longer be by myself and it was nice to have someone to talk with. We shared running stories and chatted a bit about work. 

The rest of the group passed us on the way back and Sam stayed with us to make sure we knew how to get to the hotel through the maze of Crystal City. Before we were knew it, we were back at the hotel drinking the orange-lemon water in the lobby.

Sam, Jennifer, Mary Ann, Annie, & me

It was a great way to start the day and I am glad that I got up and overcame my anxieties. Hooray for the fun run!


  1. We really enjoyed running with you, Kim! Keep up the great work!
    -Annie & Jennifer

    1. I enjoyed running with you both, too! Safe travels back home :)

  2. Good for you conquering your fears and getting out there! Confessions of A Mother Runner