So, in the intervening time between my first race (Four Courts Four Miler) and this one, changes occurred. First and most importantly, I felt “hooked” on running. Something inside me switched on. With the weather getting nicer, I was running outside in my neighborhood, experimenting with different routes around to make up a 5k-distance course. I decided treadmills were boring. You can’t feel the wind on your face or get chased by dogs or nearly hit by cars running on a treadmill. Running outside is more exhilarating. Whatever it was that switched on made me think “runrunrunrun” unconsciously at random moments throughout the day and especially at quittin’ time at work.
Next, I didn’t feel like running was as much of a chore anymore. It could be kind of dull at times, but you could see the scenery go by outside and push yourself to become more healthy, which was my primary goal. I really wanted to not become a workaholic loaf like my dad can be. He works hard at his job, but he puts a lot of time into it and there is no longer anytime for anything else it seems, including any kind of exercise. He used to, when I was younger, but I suppose he got busier and had to change his habits. That and he eats terribly. I love to eat and come from a very much food-loving family. And there’s zero wrong with that. I, however, do not want to be an unhealthy loaf when I get older, so I am determined now to stay healthy and push myself to gain not only that, but challenge myself where I never thought I would at any other time in my life.
I had previously worked at Starbucks for nearly 7 years as a manager, and transitioned into a desk job. This opened up a lot of new-found time given a steady and predictable schedule in the afternoons, which I took advantage of to exercise since I was noticing a physical change once my sedentary job set in. This enabled me to train and do the first race, and continue with this new-found hobby after.
I had started to run with old trainers that I had lying around and no real running shoes per se. I then, one day, saw at REI Vibram Five Fingers shoes. I’d seen others wear them and wanted to try them out. Bought ’em, enjoyed wearing them, and then, tried running with them. I found it was actually fairly easy to do. I basically run on my forefoot and hardly touch my heel to the ground or not at all.
I started running with the Five Fingers on the regular, and apart from the occasional blister and funky smell, enjoyed running with them. My neighborhood is rather hilly, so I got a lot of use with them up and down the terrain.
My next race was kind of on-the-fly, as I was expecting to attend a Civil War reenactment the same weekend. When attendance to that was expected to be low (and it was local, and thus, easier to get too) I opted out of one day and signed up for the local Lake Ridge Runner’s May Day 5k.
The Ridge Runners is a fair sized group of local runners who meet several times a week in the area to run neighborhoods, etc. I think I started running with them in April and try my best to go out at least once a week to do one of several courses they do. It was a good way to get advice too, from folks who’d been running far longer than me. On what to eat, best practices, etc.
The race was held on May 4th in the Oakwood neighborhood here in Woodbridge. It was a crisp morning, so I kept a jacket handy and wore my Vibrams. I took mental notes of what others wore, like compression sleeves and other types of shoes, etc.
The course wove its way through neighborhoods and finished where it started. The hills encountered were fairly steep, but not too bad. The first one encountered in the first half-mile was the worst, and once past that, the steepness of the other hills wasn’t the issue as much as the duration of the elevation changes. I felt the need to slow and walk a couple times for about 10-15 seconds, but I motivated myself and kept going. My final time was 26’40” (I think, I wrote it down on my bib, which is at home). Not bad for only my second race.
I grabbed a banana they were handing out and hung out for a bit with some folks I know, and then dipped out to go home, as Chelsea weer playing later in the morning and I had to shower before I drove up to Arlington to catch the game.