First 5k in ten years

While our family was in Pacific City, OR, for three days last week, I decided not to take a vacation from my running. I figured that if I took Saturday off because I was at the beach, then I would probably take another day off for this or that reason and it would snowball and I would be back on the couch in no time. It has taken me seven weeks (six of running and one with two days off to rest the weary trotters) to get me this far and I didn’t want to toss it out the window. I have run my first 5k without getting shin splints in the process. I am so happy. There are days that my legs are tired, but I wear supportive footwear and they feel much better. The biggest difference is that this time (as opposed to the 1 day ramp-up period in cross country) I took it slow to start with and let my body adjust to the change in abuse. Yes, running is abusive, but our bodies can learn to cope with the strain if given enough time. Only running three days a week also helps (rather than five).

[acidfree:4685 align=right]I figured what better place to run than on the beach? I ran down on the packed sand right next to the water line. There were several places I had to be light footed to keep out of the water. Week six of the Couch to 5k program has different workouts for each day, with the third workout being a solid 25-minute run. Back in the day, I would run 5k in less than 18 minutes, but now I am running more at the 22-23 minute pace. The fact that I can run it at all is really saying something. Last week, the last day was a 20-minute non-stop run. That was not quite 5k for me (though they estimate 20 minutes is two miles and 25 minutes is 2 1/4 miles). This week, I definitely went the distance. And man, does it feel good. The plan still has another 3 weeks left in it, but I think I am just going to switch over to my own plan now that I have hit 5k. I have several routes that I can run in my neighborhood that are about the right distance. The biggest difference between routes would probably be how many hills and where they are in the course.

I don’t know that I will ever get back into competitive running, since it seems to be against the reasons that I started running. Competitive running is pushing your body to its limits to run faster or longer. This often has the tendency to break your body in the process. I am running to be in better shape and take better care of my body, so I think that my competitive running will be like any other of the competitive activities I participate in: I lost?, oh well. But we all know that merely crossing the finish line makes us all winners.

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