Running long distances has never appealed to me. I know a 5k is not a long distance for real runners, but it was for me. In high school, I ran track, and I was definitely a short-distance guy. I ran the 110 and 300 meter hurdles. The furthest race I ever ran was 400 meters, and that was plenty. Too much, really. We had to run longer distances for some workouts, but I’m confident that I never ran further than 2 miles during the first 26 years of my life.
About a year ago, Courtney started running (she describes that process here). My lack of desire to run distances continued, so I left that pursuit to her. Around the time we moved back to Oklahoma, though, something changed. For some reason, I wanted to run. I think the barefoot running craze had something to do with it, because I bought a pair of Vibram FiveFingers (aka, the shoes with toes) to run in.
So I started running with Courtney last July. And gradually, we built up our time and distance. In August, we were really good. We broke 2, then 3 miles. Then in September, Courtney found a job, and it got harder to find a time to run. After 21 miles in August, I logged just under 4 in September. Then in early October, we decided we needed a concrete goal to work toward, and there was a 5k at our alma mater November 3 – the annual Race for the Stars – so we signed up.
With a race coming up, it was time to get serious about training. Except, it didn’t happen. I ran a total of 5 miles the first 25 days of October. Then, a week out, it hit me that I was not in sufficient shape for the race. So, I hit it hard. And overdid it a little bit. 9 miles in 4 days was a lot more than I was used to, and my body didn’t like it. Fortunately, I overdid it early in the week, so I had a few days to recover, and I felt fine by race day.
When Saturday, November 3rd rolled around, we got up very early and made the 75 minute drive to OCU, where our friend Nick met us. The weather was colder than it had been, but the morning was clear and nice. We warmed up, lined up, and when the gun went off, we were off! Trying to start a run in the middle of a large pack of people was a new and frustrating experience. I got stuck behind people going slower than I cared to go, and opportunities to pass them were minimal. Eventually, I passed them and was able to get into a groove. The course was mostly flat, but there were a few small hills, which thankfully were confined to the first half of the race. In the end, all three of us finished (goal met!) and none of us had to stop running and walk (bonus!). Courtney and I even set personal bests, which might also have something to do with the fact that we’d never run that far before. The Race for the Stars was a great experience.
Since the race, we’ve continued running, alternating between consistency and inconsistency. Our goal is to run a half-marathon before the end of 2013, so the clock is ticking! If we don’t start tending toward consistency, it may be painful. Hopefully, the coming of warm weather will help. We hope.
See you at the half,