Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fun Runs and Races

Two true stories: I had been running for a couple of years when I was discussing running and the reasons for doing it. I was asked what got me interested, and I said: " I turned 40 and started my mid-life crisis. I couldn't afford a red Corvette so I took up running". As I said it another person, who I have great respect walked past and said: "that's the saddest story I've ever heard."

Second story, I was walking through a sports store and saw a notice for a fun run in a nearby community. It was 5 km and featured among other things, free t-shirt and a bag of apples, it was an apple festival.

I had no idea what to do, so I bought myself some new 'running shoes', and started running/walking. I started about a month or two before the race and began practicing. I think I went to the library and found a couple of books on running, quickly read the suggestions and tried to follow the advice. On race day, I showed and dressed totally wrong. It was a cool morning and I dressed to be warm. Yes as you can believe, that was the worst thing to do, I learned the whole 'dress so you're cool in the parking lot', the hard way. I wore the t-shirt I got with my registration, under a wind jacket. At the water station, I took a bottle of water instead of a cup of water. Then I ran the rest of the race holding onto the bottle, taking sips as I needed. Then I took the wind jacket off and when I did a small hill, I had to walk. Everything that could be done wrong with a race I did, and yet I managed to finish with a time of 31'32". I did the race again over the next two years and began to learn some lessons. I kept training and one way was to run longer and further. Over the next few years, I managed to cut my time down to 27'27".

Since then, I've done a number of 5 km fun runs and races. Usually it's been that distance. From Peach runs, to Color Runs and then to running away from Zombies. It's all been good. I've also done a few 8 km runs, which is a very good distance and then a couple of 10 km races. I did a 10 km this year and had one of my best race performances, I didn't win any medal, but had a super time doing it.

Why run? Why race? I think it's the best way to motivate and to gauge how the training is going. The first race I've done established in my mind, the benchmark on how I do with each race. The goal for the 5 km is always to be a sub-30 minutes. I'm pleased to look back and know that I've been successful in breaking that goal. Of course, there's also the t-shirts and occassional medal, either a finishing one or one for doing well in my age group. I do have a first place medal, and yes I was the only one in my age catagory. I've learned from every race- things I did wrong, where I need to change my training.

A new race becomes my motivation. I have a goal to run strong and run fast in that race. I think one reason why I like running a 5 km is that I can have a simple strategy, just run as fast and as far as I can. My best race, is a 5 km, it took place in Windsor, which in some ways isn't fair, since it's quite flat and so climbing is never an issue. I always make sure I have enough to have a good kick at the end. It feels good to take the last 100 meters and give it all I got. I do keep a record and I like when there's a chip time. There's nothing like going online and seeing your name and results. Especially if I've done well in comparison to others in my age group.

Another race I've enjoyed is the color runs. There's something about having colours thrown all over you at various stations that makes its a fun experience. It's all so colourful and great.

I write this with another race coming up. I'm doing one of the Santa Shuffle this weekend. It's another 5 km, and while there's no real clock, I will be using the GPS on my phone and keeping a record of how I do. I've run a couple of times in the park and I know it's a good place to run. It's fun and I should keep that in my mind, and I will, until the race begins.

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