If you're a regular listener to the show, you know I've been trying to improve my running ability this summer. I've had some decent success, managing to run 5k for the first time, then 7.5k, and now I've hit the 10k mark!
Rather than going further, my immediate goal is now to improve my time a bit, because I've just gone ahead and registered in my first 10k road race (pledge me here!)
Some background for you: I was comically bad at sports as a child. My parents tried me in everything - soccer, skating, swimming, even golf. I went regularly... sometimes for years... but was usually the worst kid in the class at all of these things. Did you know you could get 16% as a mark in grade 9 football? You can!!
Running was no different. I tried to run a bit late in high school with some success, but I don't think I ever cracked the 3k marker. Life went on and I didn't pursue it. Eventually, in the interest of losing some weight, I took up cycling, developed a bit of a fancy for it, and I biked about 40 lbs off! Still though, there was part of me that wanted to enjoy running as much as I enjoyed biking. (And part of me that just wanted to burn more calories per minute than I seemed to be able to do biking - 3 hour workouts aren't super convenient on weeknights).
So, after a few non-start summers, this year I really have put an effort into running as well as the usual biking. I've been exercising now more regularly than I ever have in my life. It's not all running by any means, but through all of that I ran 5k for the first time ever in my life this summer. For some people, 5k is a warmup - and I have tons of respect for those people!! But for me, and lots of other people out there, 5k is a marathon.
I did 5k, then I did 7.5k. Then I did it again, and I got to thinking that I might be able to do 10k. The other night, I did! I didn't even expect to; I planned for 9 and did an extra lap around the block to make it 10.16.
Obviously the next thing to do after running 10k once was to register in a 10k road race... because I like to get WAY ahead of myself. So, I've signed up for the Bayshore Race in Owen Sound (read more about it here) in late August, which raises funds for hospital equipment throughout Grey Bruce Health Services.
Let's be clear here - when I say I have now successfully "run" 10k, I mean I did slightly more than just walk it quickly. Some people might say you're only jogging until you get to 9 km/h... if that's the case, I definitely jogged most of that 10k. In fact, I compared my time for that first 10k to the times of last year's runners in the Bayshore Race - I would have placed 74th out of 78 runners (just ahead of two folks in the 60+ bracket).
Let me also be clear on this though - I could care less what my time is at this point; the fact that I have run that far at all is still remarkable to me. I'm only racing myself here, and even if I come in an embarrassing last place (which now looks like a legitimate possibility!), I'll still be pretty pleased with myself. That said... I have exactly one month less a day from the time I write this to get better... so who knows, maybe I'll make it out of the bottom ten!
If you're still reading at this point, the race IS a fundraiser and I hope to raise a little bit more than my entry fee for the foundation. I know you have a lot of people asking for your money these days, but few organizations do more for the well-being of your own community than your local hospital foundation. If you can spare a few bucks, you can pledge me online by clicking here. In exchange for your pledge, I promise you that I will kiss you on the mouth (if you want), finish the race (if I don't die), and try not to come in last place.
Thanks for your support! If you're part of the group of people who think 10k is an unfathomably extreme distance to run, let the above be an honest tale of how even someone as lazy as me (and I swear to you I'm one of the laziest people I know) can get there. I don't really have any tips for you... it just has to matter to you enough to keep at it, day after day, week after week. If I can do it, you HAVE to be able to do it!