I was going to post this yesterday, but got distracted by the news about Voyager 1.  It is still fitting, however, since this whole Couch to 5K thing has been a voyage of discovery for me.

Before I get to the 2012 Kalamazoo Klassic, let me share with you my initial feelings about running.  All throughout junior high and high school, I was a basketball player.  I loved the game and that was my primary focus, the game of basketball.  Yeah, I played a little football, but I wasn’t that good at it.  Yeah, I played a little baseball, but I wasn’t really good at that either.  And yeah, all of those sports involved running but that didn’t mean that I was attracted to running track.

Once I got to Hackett and discovered that my basketball skills were no longer up to par with the rest of the folks who were playing, the track coach started talking to me about trying out for the track team.  I told him that I really didn’t enjoy it, but I would try it for four weeks.  If after four weeks I liked it, I’d stay with it.  But if I didn’t, I was going back to baseball.  We shook hands on it and I tried my best at hurdles.

And that worked out fine until my first practice meet where I nailed “the fellas” on the 4th hurdle.  And that was the end of the fun for me.  I told coach that I was done, he scolded me for quitting, but that was that.  I was not meant to be a runner.  I was not meant to do track and no one was going to tell me otherwise – especially my track coach.

Now, the thing you might have noticed in that story is that I didn’t run for distance.  I hurdled.  I was a sprinter.  The idea of pacing myself for long distance didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I mean, the purpose of a race was to get to the finish as fast as you can.  The purpose of running in basketball is to either get back on defense or to push the ball up the floor before the other team does.  You sprint to be faster than the defense in football and you sprint to beat the play in baseball.

Besides, if you need to go 3.1 miles (or 26 miles), there are things like buses, taxi’s, and other means of motorized transportation that will keep you from sweating too much in your clothes, especially when you’re going up a steep hill, right?

So you can imagine the mind-bending journey this adventure to the Kalamazoo Klassic (my first 5K) has been for me.

Well, I’m very glad to say that I made it to and beyond my first 5K!

Now going into it, it was taking me about 45 minutes to run 3 miles.  I figured my goals for my first 5K would be:

  • Don’t finish last.
  • Don’t quit.
  • Do five minutes runs/1 minute walks through the thing
  • Get it done in less than 45 minutes

Seems simple enough, right?  I was still worried because I pulled a calf muscle on Sunday night before the race and it seems it’s taking forever to heal.  But despite the pain in the leg, I not only finished doing the intervals as planned, but I got this as a finishing time:

35 minutes!  Pace of 10:55 a mile!

Wow!  Who’d thunk it.

Well, Mr. V (my high school track coach), it’s taken a few years, but I think you’ve been proven right.  I can be a runner and as soon as I find the blueprint and materials to a flux capacitor, I’ll be back at Hackett to make up for not listening to you more in ’92.