I have never been much of a runner. While I can move at a fairly rapid pace over short distances, I tend to only utilize that skill during sporting events. While I’ll occasionally go for a jog or a run, that is only due to a desire to get in some exercise, and not because I derive any great pleasure from it.
So it makes perfect sense that I have signed up for two different running events this month.
First, a group of my friends signed up for the Blood and Guts Run. This is one of those “mudder” style races that are so in vogue these days. You run around, you try to make it past obstacles, and you try to avoid people dressed like zombies who are chasing you.
Since I am generally pessimistic about my chances if/when a zombie apocalypse comes, I figured this would be a good barometer of how well I would fare. At the very least, it’s another chance to suffer some sort of nagging injury that I can spend the rest of the year complaining about.
After signing up for that, one of my friends announced that she had formed a team for the Race for Every Child: A 5K in support of the Children’s National Medical Center. When she mentioned that everyone on the team would be wearing capes, I realized I had little choice but to sign up. (Yes, I own a personalized cape)
After registering for these events, it dawned on me that I had no idea if I could even run a 5K. Five kilometers didn’t sound like too much, but I didn’t know how long that was in America distance.
As it turns out, five kilometers is a little more than 3.1 miles. That seemed doable. After all, there are a lot of fatties out there who run distances much longer than that. As someone who engages in regular exercise, I assumed that I’d be able to run five kilometers in a time that wouldn’t bring shame upon me and my entire family.
Obviously, the first thing I did was watch some Rocky training montages on YouTube:
I now had visions of becoming the greatest runner who ever lived. I planned to start an intense training regimen, and by the time race day came around, I would be a lock for a top five finish!
Despite my newfound enthusiasm, I still had no idea how one prepares to run a race such as this. The internet recommended that I start by running a mile to establish a baseline time. I got on a treadmill and completed a mile in just under eight minutes. That wasn’t too shabby, and if I could maintain a similar pace throughout the race, I would finish in a time that was far from embarrassing.
Unfortunately, I was left feeling pretty winded after running that mile. Maintaining that pace over 2.1 more miles probably wasn’t going to happen without some work, so I began to methodically increase the distances I ran. I was feeling pretty good about myself, so I took the revolutionary step of getting off the treadmill and do some actual running outside.
The treadmill did little to prepare me for the real world. While I had put the treadmill on an incline, that was nothing compared to the hills near my house. After two miles, I was left wondering what the hell had happened. My back was sore, my quads were burning, and I was panting like a dog in July.
After my initial enthusiasm waned, training hasn’t gone as smoothly as I had envisioned. Thanks to various injuries, a heavy workload at the office, my recreational sports schedule, and the demands of parenthood, I haven’t been able to run nearly as much as I had hoped. My (completely unrealistic and bordering on the delusionally narcissistic) dreams of finishing with one of the top times for my age bracket have been dashed. Now I’m just hoping that I can finish the run in under half an hour and without major injury.
But regardless of how fast I run, the important thing is that I’ve helped raise some money for a good cause. If anyone would like to provide additional monetary support, please indicate so in the comments (along with an email address) and I’ll point you in the right direction. If you’re not a big fan of me, but still want to make a general donation to the hospital, you can simply follow this link:
I’ll leave you with this song about running. (Note: Aside from the title, the song has very little to do with anything else I’ve written here. There’s also some profanity involved. But if you like 2Pac and Biggie, then go ahead and take a listen!)