Tag Archives: Running

Why Is One 5K So Important

Do you have a race that always makes it on your race calender every year?  A race that you just can’t see a running season being complete without? Last year I wrote a blog post listing several favorites that I like to run.  On Sunday I ran one of these that has become my “must run” race.   This marked the sixth time I’ve run this particular 5k.  I run it every year, even when it’s not always convenient.   The race takes place right before the City’s Memorial Day parade and in the prior two years I even marched in the parade after running the race.  I was going to do the same thing this year, but a last minute change of heart kept me out of the parade.  But, not out of the race!

As 5ks go this is great race.  It’s a flat, fast, fun course.  Being right before the parade gives you an unusual amount of spectators to cheer you on.  And the flat course seems like an easy 5k, but there’s a twist.  The race is at noon at the end of May in Michigan.  So it gets pretty hot and can take a toll quick if your’re not prepared.  Additionally, the race is for a great cause.  Money raised is used to provide student-athletes from the local high schools with a scholarship.  I’m a huge believer in the importance athletics plays in the education system and in childhood development, I’m glad to be able to support it by participating in the race.

These are all great reasons to run this race.  However, they are not the reason this race has become so important to me.

For me, this race is personal.  It was seven years ago that I was setting up with my family to watch the parade when I saw the runners running the inaugural race.  I looked and thought, I bet I could do that.  And, the next year I did.  And from there I gained the confidence to run more races and longer distances until I was running half marathons.   At the time I didn’t even realize I was a runner.  But, running this 5k that first year gave me confidence to let myself become one.

You can see why the race is important to me and makes my race calendar each year.  But, it’s still not the exact reason this race was so important for me to run this year.  Even more so than the past five.

This year, I felt like I needed to remind myself that I was still a runner.  My running is nowhere near where it was a couple short years ago.  I’ve let things slid and have taken some huge steps backwards.  If I had to discribe my running over the last year I’d say I’ve been like a hamster.  Yes, for the obvious reason, most of my running has been done in the gym on the treadmill.  But, more than that, I’ve sort of caged it.  In that my runs have many times lacked meaning.  Just logging miles.  I’ve had a few workouts recently that felt different, more deliberate, but not yet where I want to be.

Given all that, I felt like I needed to draw a line.  That if I missed this race I may no longer be a runner.   So I did what runners do, I laced up my shoes and ran.  As usual, I had a great time.  Despite the fact that I may have logged the worse official 5k time I’ve had.  I ran it nearly three minutes slower than I had the last two years and almost two minutes slower then I had that first year in 2008.

Nevertheless,I’m glad I ran it.  I was disappointed, I thought I’d do a little better despite my lack of training.  But I finished and succeeded in reminding myself that I’m a runner.  And as runners know, you only get out of running what you put in!


Turn On The Music And Run

Over my running years I’ve gone back and forth between no music while I run and having music.  Usually, when I run inside on the treadmill I listen to music to pass the time and keep it interesting.   However, when I run outside, most often, I leave music at home.   Mostly, I do this because I find music a distraction.  Technical issues and mechanical failures aside, I find it also distracts me from my run.  I find that without music I “stay in my run” and get more out of it.  I’m able to concentrate on my form and pace better.

Having said that, sometimes music might be just what you need. I’ve been struggling with running a lot lately.  I’ve struggled to find time. I’ve struggled to set goals.  And I’ve struggled to improve.  Today,  I decided to change it up and take some music with me on my run.  And to my surprise it really helped.  It took my mind of some aches and pains when I got started and to my surprise didn’t seem to distract me as much as it has in the past.  Perhaps I’ve grown as a runner more than  I thought?

The moral of the story is, you’re a runner so get out there and run!  And, if you need to, turn on the music.

Someone Is Always Faster – An Older Wiser Runner Knows This

It’s not like I’ve been running around with the illusion that I’m a fast runner, or faster than most, or even faster than many… Maybe faster than some. However, at my best I’m a middle of the pack runner.

During my run today I was reminded of this fact. It was about four  in the afternoon, sunny and in the low sixties. Perfect day for a run.  I was about two or so miles into it, feeling pretty good, I had just started to settle into my run.  Just then, some young guy blew past me, probably running a good minute faster.  To be fair, my day started off at 6am when my youngest got up.  And consisted of laundry, lots of playing with the kids, and cutting the grass. I’m not saying I would of kept up with this guy if I was just starting off my day.  I’m just saying my day had been pretty full and his had mostly likely just started.  Or, I’m just trying to save my ego…

Nevertheless, I stayed on pace and kept myself in my run.  However, it wasn’t so long ago that I would have tried to keep up, or at least would speed up so it wouldn’t look so easy to blow past me.  Just another futile effort to save my ego.   But, if I had, it would have been  to the detriment of my run.

You see,  I was on a six mile run. Which is not a terribly long distance, but for me lately that is a long run.  I’m trying to get my training back on track, it’s been off for probably more than a year now.  The point is, no matter if you’re on a training run or in a race you need to run your run and run your race. If you let somebody else dictate your run and get you off your game, you may not get from your run what you set out to….

Can’t talk about being wise without Yoda!

A Few Of My Favorite Local Races

My last post, The Affect of a Fun Run, was an attempt at making a point on the importance of local fun runs.  As a follow up, I thought I’d list a few I like that are coming up soon.  Starting with the one nearest and dearest to my running heart.

As I mentioned in my last post this race was the first formal race I ran, since my illustriousness high school track career that is.  It’s a really fun race that takes place prior to the city Memorial Day Parade.  It’s a fast flat out and back.  But, there is a challenging twist.  The race is at noon at the end of May.  This makes for an unusually hot 5k making a personal best unlikely and adding a little challenge to this fun run.  Additionally, the parade goers add a captive audience and an unusually large crowd to cheer the runners on.  The race director, who started the race as part of her reign as Miss St. Clair Shores, has done an excellent job growing the race by adding chip timers and USATF certification in recent years.  Another unique aspect to this race is the cause it supports.  The proceeds are used to provide scholarships for student athelets.

Save The Manatee 5K (May 19)
That’s right, this race has a unique cause,  at least for Michigan.  The race director is a local teacher who organizes this race with her students to raise money for the Save the Manatee Club.  I’ve run this one the last couple years and really like it.  It’s a lot of fun and a great to bring the kids.   It offers several distances so the whole family can get involved and is run inside Metro Beach.  Additionally, it’s really cool to see all the kids out running and volunteering, it’s a real community event.

It’s been a couple years since I’ve run this one.  But I really liked it the last time I did.  This race is run on the trails inside the park which are a mixture of concrete, dirt, grass, and gravel.  It also has a few small hills.  It’s a nice change of pace from the typical road race.

Run Like a Mother (May 12)
I ran this for first time last year.  This was a fun race which also runs through Metro Beach for part of it.  The event offers shorter distances for the kids, another great family and community event.  The race starts and ends at an apartment building.  Last year they had a great after party.  Complete with almost every option you can think of for post race recovery, live music, hot dogs, free zumba  (no I didn’t).

The Affect of a Fun Run

In my first running blog post I noted that I began running local races about five years ago.  That race was a local 5k in it’s second year(now in it’s sixth) and occurs before the Memorial Day Parade in my town.  It’s a really fun race that I’ve run every year since and plan to run again this year.  Running this race really opened me up to running.  I had so much fun I ran a couple other 5ks that year.  In the years that followed I ran more 5ks, some 10ks, and a couple half marathons.

With this race coming up soon I’ve been reflecting on the affect these types of runs have on our communities and those of us who participate.  Most of these runs are held to benefit a worthy cause.  Anything from fighting cancer or some other horrible disease, to supporting animal rights or local schools.  But, the benefit to the community often goes much deeper then just the charity or cause it supports.  And the impact on the runner can be long lasting, and perhaps life changing.

These races promote healthy living teaching adults and children alike about the benefits of a healthy life style.  In my case, I was already a runner.  But, the previous year when I watched the race I was motivated to give it a try and here I am five years later still running races.  Perhaps in other cases, people who have never run are motivated to run or to start exercising in some way.

Additionally, they provide a way for runners as a community to compete and participate in their sport.  That sense of community  helps to motivate recreational runners to keep running as well as new runners to start.

Finally, because these local runs are usually 5ks and in many cases have a 1mile run it allows runners of any level to participate.

Now I’m a Runner…Or Have I Been?

Running has been a part of my life for a long time.  I’ve been an active runner and running local 5k, 10k, and half marathons  for 5 years.  Prior to that, running was an on and off again part of my exercise routine for at least 10 years.  I even ran track in high school a couple of years, albeit badly.  Yet, for some reason I didn’t consider myself a runner until somewhat recently(last few years).

Even after I began to run local races I didn’t equate myself as a “runner”.  If someone asked, or it came up in conversation, I’d say “I run but I’m not a runner”.  For me, I think I had some idea in my head of what a runner was.   Like I had to be able to run a certain distance or speed.  Maybe I thought I had to look a certain way.  Or perhaps, I worried that other people thought those things and wouldn’t take me seriously if I said I was a runner.

Over time as I ran more races, began reading about running,  and met more runners I found out that this wasn’t the case.  In fact, I learned that running as a sport, recreation, and competition is open to all types of runners.  Those that fit the stereotype and those that don’t.

For me, I found that running is first a competition with oneself.  As such, determining if your’re a runner is really up to you. There is no minimum speed, distance, age, or body weight required.  It doesn’t matter if you’re training for a marathon or running to keep fit.  Being a runner is about running and what you get out of it.  You define it, determine your goals, and enjoy it however you want.

In addition to health benefits some of the things I get from running are community, confidence, pride, and a clear head.

Sure, I don’t run nearly as much as I’d like to right now.  But, I’m thankful for being able to.

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