The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Thirty 5Ks…For Thirty Years of Running (#1)

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A surprising nostalgic turn recently, a desire to set challenging goals for myself, and a thirst for symmetry in some aspects of my life all came together two weeks ago into this plan:  I’ll run thirty 5K races in the next year to commemorate my thirtieth anniversary of running.  The milestone almost went by unnoticed but for the scatological thinking I experience when I run.  I was out running around who knows where when I reminded myself that I can still run faster than I did when I was sixteen…  which led to me remembering that I’m forty-six now…  and then I got my iPhone out and did the math and realized it was thirty years ago that my high school Cross Country coach rang me up and I made good on something I told him I would do as a freshman, which was to join Cross Country.  I didn’t, and he reminded me every time I saw him in the hall.  I was at school early one morning for a baseball meeting my sophomore year when I happened to see him, and he spouted off again about how I dodged him two years prior.  I spouted back that I’d do it.  He called.  I couldn’t back out.

Glad I didn’t.  And that’s the flat truth.  Aside from six years of my life when I didn’t run by choice, and about two years when I couldn’t because of injury, running has been one of the barometers of my well-being.  When things haven’t gone so well in life, sometimes I’ve been able to go for a run and get my head straight.  When running wasn’t going so well, I’d prioritize recovering it.  It’s what has made me mentally tough (that was the only promise our coach ever made), and what has made me jackass stubborn.  You take the good with the bad.

Anyhow, thirty is a pretty heady number.  I’ve already figured that it’s going to cost me about $1000 dollars in registration fees.  I’ll have to double-up some weekends and race both days, and juggle even more the other priorities in my life like work and relationships and recreation.  I modestly figured that if I run three races a month, I’ll easily make the goal.  Problem is, 5Ks are rare December through February and since most races are on the weekends, I’m taking up a lot of weekend time that is very valuable during the school year.  There’s the physical toll, too.  I’m sure I’ll be noting some sore feet and knees.  Probably some weak legs.  Get used to hearing about my tired back.  My IT band has broken up and the members are pursuing solo careers.  I might get injured by running more than I usually do.  But there is also the benefit of on-going wellness.  The satisfaction of reaching a goal.  The challenge to rethink my fitness routines.  Plus, the discipline.  I’m pretty strict with myself the day before a race as far as rest and drinking lots of water and eating right and staying away from Mr. Booze.  I’ll have to do more of that if I want to maintain some level of excellence as far as my times go.  So, bonus on all those accounts.

The quest began today.  I ran the North Chicago Community Days 5K Color Run.  I’m already stepping out of my normal habits by running a color run.  I don’t go for all that gimmicky stuff like color runs or mud runs.  But necessity prevailed, and I needed to do something to start myself off.  Besides, I’d run this race before when it wasn’t a color run and turned in some good times.  It’s a fast, flat course and usually a small race.  Today was no different.  It was cool but getting hotter as we waited fifteen minutes past the start time for the mayor to finally start the race.

I felt good from the start.  We went up a small rise and ran at an elevated height for a short time, and when we hit the long slope down, I was breathing in tune with my pace, which felt pretty rapid.  The course is blessed with some long, straight stretches, and those helped me maintain what I had started.  It all went well until I started the third mile.  I started to feel gassed and kept reminding myself time is not so important.  I’ve been fighting all summer just to get below twenty-seven minutes, but it hasn’t been a priority because I do my best running in the fall.  I came into the final stretch and heard a few guys closing on me.  I thought at first to let them have it if they wanted it, but then I saw I could actually crack twenty-six minutes.  I held one of  them off, and ended up finishing twelfth overall and second in my age division.  One of the guys I beat at the end was in my age division, and I edged him by .4 of a second.

So, it was hardware city for me.  I’ve never won many medals, so I feel pretty good when I do.  Final time:  25:59.8.  It’s still faster than when I was sixteen.

Written by seeker70

August 6, 2016 at 11:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Mr. Burd, you are a hard act to follow & an inspiration. Not just because you edge me out by a few insignificant years or so, but for showing some of us a way to keep getting up and attem!

    Joel David Hutson

    August 6, 2016 at 3:28 pm

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