Halfway through Monday's Ring Around the Roses 5K, held in Whetstone Park to benefit the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, I was losing heart.

Halfway through Monday's Ring Around the Roses 5K, held in Whetstone Park to benefit the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, I was losing heart.

In the excitement of the first mile, surrounded by enthusiastic runners, I didn't pace myself well enough.

Coming into the second mile, I was losing steam. I was sure there was no way I was going to cross the finish line without stopping to walk part of the race. I was breathing hard, and my legs were aching.

But my sister, Sarah, who has trained for the race with me over the last two months, kept me going to that two-mile mark. Once I passed that mark, I was focused: I knew I couldn't stop after months of hard training.

Sarah and I crossed the finish line in 28 minutes and 50 seconds, giving us an average of a 9-minutes mile, no great feat for a true athlete but for the chronically unathletic, just running for three solid miles was a major accomplishment.

To top it all off, Sarah and I were handed mugs as we crossed the finish, meaning we were in the top 50 women to finish. With more than 200 runners taking to the trail Monday, that was a better finish than I expected.

If there is one thing I gained by training for the race over the past few months, I believe I've learned to push myself harder.

In talking to the athletic people in my life, I've concluded that they are all ingrained with the ability to push past their pain and their desire to quit to reach their goals.

I have never had that.

As I've worked to get in shape over the past year or so, I have learned to push myself harder, but to be honest, without my sister training with me for the race, I probably would never be able to run a full three miles without giving up because I was tired or bored or out of breath.

I would love to report that in training for the 5K I have found my long-lost inner athlete, that I now love to run and that nothing will keep me from running several times a week.

I have learned to enjoy running to some extent. I will say that I haven't found that "runner's high" that most people claim make the sport worthwhile. I think it might be a myth.

Even though I won't be lining up with the hard-core runners in the fall for the Columbus Marathon, Sarah and I are planning to run at least one more 5K this summer.

Running the Ring Around the Roses has even given me a new goal, beyond just running the entire race: I have a time of 28:50 to beat, and I know with the support of my sister I can do it.

And while finishing the 5K Monday was a giant step for me, my personal triumphs aren't what's really important about the event.

The CRC, with the help of title sponsor EAS and the Clintonville community, more than tripled the fundraising goal for the race, raising more than $15,000. That makes the race the largest fundraiser ever held for the CRC, and EAS has already signed on to sponsor next year's race.

I plan to be there at the start line, and next year, I know I'll be able to finish.

Jennifer Nesbitt is a ThisWeek staff writer.

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