Couch to 5K… literally

It seems that on this past Saturday, October 22nd, everything aligned just perfectly for my husband Barry and me to run in a race together for the first time ever.

That would be ever.

Barry never considered himself a runner.  And I began running just 3 years ago.

Barry would become my biggest fan… making breakfast for me before my first 5K, calming my nerves that ran rampant in giant circles inside my stomach.  He would make breakfast for me before every race after… cheering me on to a 5-miler, 10K, 13.1, 70.3 Ironman and 26.2 and calming those nerves that always show up in my stomach on race day.

Barry would know my run schedule, my training routes and my approximate times… and find the time to wait for me on our front porch with a giant smile, a giant hug and sometimes even an ice cold Miller Lite (for carbs, of course).

Our adult children and in-law children run.  They run all kinds of races.  5K’s, half marathons, marathons, 70.3’s and everything in-between.  Our grandchildren are now loving to run.

And Barry is there for everything.  Everything.  Cheering from the sidelines.  Always.

Barry grew up playing basketball… every moment he could, and he got very good at it.  As a young adult, he taught himself to play tennis and got pretty good at it.  He took up golf, then skiing and got pretty good at these things, too.

Barry even ran a few races… very fast, I might add… but knew all the while that he was messing up something in his knees, his hips, his legs.

Then a severed quad (during a basketball game) and a hip replacement within the last 12 years side-lined Barry with the pounding courts and pounding pavement sports.

Until 9 weeks ago.

9 weeks ago, I was commiserating with our daughter Jane about not doing anything all summer long after accomplishing a life-dream of running a marathon in May… no swimming, no biking, no running.  I wrote about it here.

At just about the same moment in time, Barry decided that he wanted to get into some exercise program that he would enjoy and that would keep him accountable.  I wrote about it here.

We both began our C25K journey.


Barry is the math guy.  I’m the dreamer.  Together, we combined our “skills” and we designed routes, logged in moments and minutes and miles, kept each other going, talked and laughed and made plans to really do this thing, really accomplish what the program C25K program says…

Really run a 5K.


Then more alignment with the universe happened when one of my favorite and most beautiful, generous, gracious, funny ladies in the world, Melissa of Wherever I May Wander and also over at Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans, wrote about Run the ‘Hood 2011.

The Run the ‘Hood is a virtual race.  What?  Yes, a virtual race for “anyone from anywhere! All ages, abilities, walkers, runners, woggers… everyone can participate!”  Runners can design their own routes or join in a local 5K.

Barry (the math guy) calculated that the Sisterhood Run the ‘Hood ’11 was exactly 9 weeks from Day One of our C25K training.

We talked about designing our own route, but as Barry got more and more awesome at the running thing, we dreamed (that would be my forte) of entering a local 5K.

Our daughter Jane (who owns Rhody Fitness and knows just about everything about everything fitness) would find the perfect race for us at Barry’s alma mater, Providence College ON THE EXACT DAY OF RUN THE ‘HOOD and the end of our C25K training.


And that’s how Barry and I ended up running a race together for the first time ever… a 5K with the inspiration of each other, a great program, a virtual race and a real race!

And this is how it went…

Picking up our #'s at Harkins Hall on the Providence College campus... Friday afternoon
A beautiful Saturday morning... in our inspirational "Sisterhood Run the 'Hood" t-shirts
Ready to do this running thing!
900+ runners to join!
Strong at mile 1.5
Our grandchildren waiting at the FINISH!
Kisses and high-5's!
Barry sprinting to the FINISH... RUNNING every step of the 3.1 miles!
LOVE I can't begin to describe... !
Oh happy moment... our son Adam's family!
Our daughter Jane, her fiance Brian and pups!
Our daughter Audrey and grandson William!
My girls Audrey & Jane!
The Providence College Friar!
Our granddaughter Maddie... who is training to run a Thanksgiving 5K!
Run & Done!

My heart is so full with this accomplishment, my pride in Barry, the support and love of my beautiful family, the Sisterhood (Barry is now a sistah!), and the hope that anyone who reads this knows that with  proper training, with heart and a goal… the universe works with you!

It does.

(And the universe also provides the after-race carbs)…


About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 10.24.11
    lissa said:

    SERENDIPITOUS, indeed!

    I am so, SO PROUD of you and Barry for devoting the past nine weeks to each other and yourselves to accomplish this goal. I love that you were together every step of the way. {I think I would probably kill my husband if we were to train together!}

    I look up to you in so many ways and this is just one more reason I think you are wonderful!

    LOVE! xo!

  2. 10.24.11

    Sharon, this brought me to tears!!! When Melissa and I dreamed up Run the Hood as a virtual race, we hoped it would be the catalyst to get people who’d never raced up and off the couch. I know we have accomplished that and so much more, now!!

    You and Barry are an amazing inspiration for so many, and some of the sweetest people on the face of the earth. We are proud to have both of you as part of the Sisterhood! 😉

    Barry!! Way to tear it up, Brother! I am so proud of you!!

  3. 10.24.11
    Pam said:

    My eyes are brimming with tears as I read about a couple who is so devoted and in love, even after all these years. Makes me think of my hubby and I, after 41 years of marriage, he is still the most important person in my life, and hopefully I am the same to him. What an accomplishment–to run that 5K together–just amazing. And what a thrill to have your grandchildren there to cheer you on. What an inspiration you are for all of us, but most of all, for those grandchildren of yours! That is evidenced by your granddaughter’s goal to be running a 5K on Thanksgiving. Good for you all, and may you & your Barry live many years together, happily running and enjoying your wonderful family!

  4. 10.24.11
    AnnG said:

    Oh what a wonderful story! I love that this virtual 5k brought you together! Your story makes me so happy! Welcome to the Sisterhood,Barry!

  5. 10.24.11

    Woot woot from Texas and with proud tears in my eyes! From one sister to her newest *brotha*- you rocked it Barry!!!! Congrats on a job well done…..and you to, Sharon.

  6. 10.25.11
    Barry said:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I don’t know what I ever did to get so lucky to have Sharon as my wife and best friend, but I’ll take it! During the 9 week C25K training period, Sharon kept me on track with my training, my eating, my fluid intake… you name it! It was great, not only training together, but also actually running the Virtual 5K together. And it was great having so many of our kids and grandkids there to cheer us on.
    Thanks Honey!
    Now we’ve signed up with a personal trainer at our local YMCA to tone up for whatever comes next. Sharon wants us to mix in some Sprint Triathlons with some 5K’s over the next few months so I’m going along for the ride! (even though I don’t swim…yet!)

  7. 10.25.11

    Inspiring and so glad you were able to accomplish this together. What great role models you are too for all those grandkids/pups :):) good luck with your future endeavors and enjoy the time together.
    Best ~ cathy

  8. 10.25.11

    I’m so excited to see all the exciting things you and Sharon accomplish together in the next few months!

    Keep us posted 🙂


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