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My First 5K Race…under the arch

Hello readers! I have been asked to tell about my first 5K race. But first some background…last summer I decided to alter my exercise routine a bit. I had been walking in the mornings a few days a week before work along with some basic calisthenics. Probably in July last year, I head a Zig Ziglar talk in which he told a story about him getting into better shape by starting to walk, and then to run for 30 sec and then walk for 60 sec, etc…I decided to try it as my workouts and progress down in weight had kind of flattened. I got to talking to the Major’s wife as she mentioned the Major was training for a 1/2 marathon while TDY in Florida. I mentioned this to her that I had been doing this walk/run alternate thing. She suggested I get the C25K (“Couch 2 5K”) app for my iPhone. I found one and started to do it. Two of my friends caught wind of this (the infamous Mr. C and JD) and they invited me to come for a “run for the wings” after work. This involved running for awhile at Forest Park and then “put it all back on” for dinner with chicken wings & beer…how could I go wrong?? (I wrote on this encouragement last year here:https://marcsviewonstuff.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/running-moi/. This really got my momentum going and I continued to run a few mornings a week into the early winter. But with some effeminate excuses for not going out in the cold to run–resorting to my warmer secret underground lair basement’s elliptical machine–I got back into it about a month or so ago. And I really missed it!

Some more background…

JJR came to visit Easter weekend. We talked about some of the races he did while away and I mentioned that I made a goal of doing a 10K this year but thought it would be good to do a 5K first. He mentioned that his first race was for the Thrive 5K a few years back. I looked into the organization to see if they were going to do it this year and they were! I had been talking with a few other Oratorians about doing this together, but a far more noble and focused team developed in its place. I was invited to join the team, and by race day, we numbered eight runners. I believe all but one of us were official 5K rookies…but two were well-seasoned runners in excellent shape.

But here’s my story of the race day itself. I needed to arrive a little early to register. A short while later, a Zumba class kicked off for a warmup. Heck no I did not do that class! I walked along the riverfront to warm up a little after getting our race registration completed. Upon walking back from the south flood walls near the Gateway Arch, we saw that the rest of our team arrived. A few on our team had formally joined the LifeRunners organization. (I have since joined) They run in races across the USA to pray and raise money for the unborn.

At about 0755, they kind of gathered the runners at the starting line. The LifeRunners got together and prayed their creed:

LIFE Runners Creed: We believe in the dignity of all human life from conception to natural death. We run as a Prayer, that children in the womb may be protected, so that they may be born and welcomed into the Christian community by baptism. We run to build Endurance, for the race is long and we must keep our eyes fixed on You Lord. We run for Awareness, that the eyes of all people may be transformed and see every human life as a reflection of Your glory Lord. We run for Charity, to provide Truth for mothers and fathers tempted to abort their child…and healing support for post-abortive women, men and families. We run to End abortion, for Christ has destroyed the power of death, and therefore the power of abortion. Guard us all, born and unborn, with Your PEACE, Lord. For in You, life is victorious. We pray and run in Your name, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Just as soon as we finished the prayer, the race began!

Here
We
Go!!

I was actually running in a race! Me…who dreaded the running portion of the physical fitness test in high school (heck, the whole test in general)…always finishing last etc. This shall be different! And it was!

The course was twice around the Gateway Arch grounds. I think it was probably a perfect first 5K. With the exception of the big steps at the south end of the grounds, and back down the other side, it was relatively flat. I soon got up to speed and was following JD’s advice to find a runner who is just a little bit faster than me and try to pace him. That approach worked pretty well. It helped me to keep going even though I may have wanted to slow down or walk. About 25% through the first lap, I took out my rosary and started to pray it. In my training, I had found that by praying it, I was able to keep a good breathing rhythm and a ~10min/mile pace. No world records were at risk that day.

The whole first lap around, I was able to keep pretty much the same pace and I did not have to stop running. The second lap once again brought the big steps. I still had enough spring in my step to keep running up them but shortly after I got on the gentle slope upwards along the south end of the course, I started to feel woozy. Oh no! I didn’t want to stop running as I had set two goals…1.) to finish and 2.) to keep running and not have to walk at all. I had not been able to #2 at all during my training. I did not get that far in the app. But…I had never felt this woozy when doing the training. Am I going to throw up??? I did not want to find out, so I decided to switch to a walk and I did for about a minute, felt a lot better and then got back into the run.

Most of the way down the backstretch, I see the Major running the opposite way. He obviously finished well and was checking back on the troops. I kept trudging along, everyone being encouraged by Thrive volunteers as cheerleaders, reminding us why we were there.

As I started rounding the last turn into the homestretch, the finish line is clearly in front of me.

Aaaalllllmost there…

Stay on target…

Aaaalllllmost there…

Like stepping on the gas pedal on an 18 wheeler, I get a little burst of momentum and picked up the pace and finished strongly to cheers and high fives all around from those supporting our team.

No world records were set. None were attempted. I had a huge amount of fun before, during and after the race. I can’t wait for the next one!

Mr. C is already cajoling me to train for the 1/2 Marathon. Maybe yes maybe no…but I’m hooked.

What have you done recently that you NEVER would have thought you would have done? Find people who will encourage you and challenge/push you, and it just might happen.

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