Race day, Saturday September 29th, was a sunny, cool 50 degrees. I couldn’t ask for better weather. It was hard to keep my heart rate down as I strolled over to the registration table. After check in, I mingled with the crowd and talked to several friends and acquaintances who I was surprised to learn had entered the event.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-100 able-bodied individuals anxiously wanted to get the race underway. After a few instructions and a prayer, the gun went off. Like a herd of cattle we launched ourselves across a grassy field towards a pond we would encircle. It was immediately apparent this was a serious group of runners who had been training much longer than me. I, along with one other gentleman, settle back to guard the rear of the pack.
In hindsight, my training did help me mentally and physically prepare for this run. Mentally, I knew I had completed training runs longer that the 5k distance. Physically, I knew I could maintain the consistent pace necessary to keep from being winded. My strategy was simple, to complete the first two kilometers in around 20 minutes and then throw caution to the wind for the final three kilometers. That didn’t happen. Determined not to fall too far behind the pack of runners ahead of me, I completed the first 2 kilometers four minutes faster than planned. My body was not used to running at this pace. For the next kilometer I focused on controlling my breathing. Then, feeling I still had energy in my legs, I decided to maintained the pace until my body told me something different. I was surprised to see my time was about 40 minutes on the big digital timer at the finish line, a 15 full minutes faster than expected!
As good as this whole experience has been for my health (I lost 25 pounds over the summer), I have not made any promises to myself or anyone else that I will continue training. I’m paying close attention to my knees, which have been little sore off and on the last few weeks.
Perhaps if I lost another 15 pounds I could entertain running (jogging) another 5k.
Here is a picture of yours truly showered and dressed post race sporting my new t-shirt.