“Now you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but I could run like the wind blows. From that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was running!” – Forrest Gump

According to my RunKeeper records, it’s been about a year since I started distance running.  As you may recall, I started on a bit of a fluke.  Some friends started a Couch to 5K program, said their first 5K was going to be the 2012 Kalamazoo Klassic, I wasn’t about to let Kalamazoo not be represented in my group of friends, so I started running.  In the year that has passed since I started, I have experienced the following:

  1. I’ve lost about 15 – 20 pounds (depending on that day’s weigh in).
  2. There are size 16 1/2 shirts I can start wearing again.
  3. There are some suits/sport coats/dress pants that look too big on me
  4. I’ve been able to run up Nichols Rd Hill without stopping … once! 😉
  5. A feeling of exhilaration that is hard to describe as I cross my first finish line
  6. A new reason to get up early on a Sunday morning, rather than to sleep in until noon.

Going back to that first 5K, I finished that race with a time of 35:01.  I’ve been getting better times ever since then, but haven’t been able to finish in under 30 minutes.  According to my history of official races:

  • 6/16/12 – Kalamazoo Klassic 2012 – 35:01
  • 8/11/12 – Oshtemo Sunburst 5k – 33:45
  • 9/8/12 – Mt. Baldhead Challenge 2012 – 32:33
  • Winterlaufe (8K) – 53:32

Saturday, I ran the Ronald McDonald Run for the House – Mid Michigan 5k in Okemos.  It was on a great course, by which I mean I enjoy anything where the last .20 mile is down hill.  Prior to this race my normal strategy involved running anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes and then taking a 20 – 30 second walk break.  But something has been making me feel different over the last few weeks as I’ve been training for my first 10k.  I’ve been able to run 3 miles straight without a walk break and so I tried that during the race.  I didn’t walk until 3.01 miles (when that pain in my side arrived with the force of a MAC truck).  Upon arriving at the finish line (completely ignoring the fact that Ronald McDonald was there in full clown regalia), I looked at the clock and saw it had just hit 29:01.

Couldn’t be!  There’s no way that I just broke 30 minutes for a 5k! There’s no way that I just beat my previous best by over 3 minutes.

Then the official results were posted and this is what I saw:

I BROKE 30 MINS!!!
I BROKE 30 MINS!!!

It may have taken me a year (or actually almost 39 years) to figure out how to be a runner, it may have taken me a while to get to the point where I really feel good about being in uncomfortably tight running clothes during the winter and uncomfortably loose shorts in the summer, it may have taken me a while to learn to ignore that nagging pain in my side and those nagging doubts in my head … but here I am.

After seeing these results, I traveled to South Haven to see my friend Shawn finish his ultra marathon (silly guy ran 42 miles for the heck of it … go figure).  As I watched him cross the finish line and the Sun came out to greet us all … it occurred to me that this was a pretty darn good weekend!

Happy Spring everyone!

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