“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:
- I’ve lost about 15 – 20 pounds (depending on that day’s weigh in).
- There are size 16 1/2 shirts I can start wearing again.
- There are some suits/sport coats/dress pants that look too big on me
- I’ve been able to run up Nichols Rd Hill without stopping … once! 😉
- A feeling of exhilaration that is hard to describe as I cross my first finish line
- 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:
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!