Thoughts on the ocean, the environment, the universe and everything from nearly a mile high.

Panorama of The Grand Tetons From the top of Table Mountain, Wyoming © Alan Holyoak, 2011

Friday, February 10, 2012

On running...Part 1

I never thought that I'd end up running. When did this happen!? How did this happen!? How could this happen!? It's kind of a mystery, but, well, it happened.

(Here I am closing in on the finish line in the Rexburg Liberty 5K, July 3, 2010.)
Growing up we were always active. We played all kinds of sports, both organized and as neighborhood kids. During my HS and college my main sports were soccer, basketball, and softball, with a liberal smattering of whatever else was going on.
Over the years it got harder and harder to find 21 other people to play soccer. Then, 6-7 years ago I returned to basketball and played "noon-hoops" with fellow employees. That went well, for the most part. I got my wind back, and I was able to get up and down the court with the best of them...OK, maybe not with the best of them, but I soon learned that it was a pain when I jammed my fingers, and this happened about every time I played. Jammed fingers weren't a big deal in the old days, and my hands would usually feel better by the end of the game. Now my jammed fingers stayed sore for weeks! After my second year of playing noon hoops I couldn't wait for the summer break to give my fingers and knuckles a chance to heal. Over a month into the summer break they were still sore! That's when I gave basketball the old heave ho.
So, what about running? When did that all start?
It's all my sister-in-law, Lori's, fault! Yes, the blame has to fall someplace, and she gets it. She talked my wife into running a 1/2 marathon with her. They trained up, and in 2004 they ran a 1/2 marathon. Kat has been up and at 'em ever since, 3+ mornings a week running or riding or doing some other kind of exercise. After that it didn't take long for Kat to find and be found by a local group of women runners and bicycle enthusiasts..."The Sole Sisters."
Well, I didn't start running right away, but running had entered our home. But, if you leave the door open a crack there's no telling what will get in! Be careful! I was still playing basketball and jamming my fingers when this was all going on. Kat, in the meantime, continued to run, and in the fall of 2006 she ran her first full marathon.
Somewhere along the line I gave up jammed fingers, and pretty much stopped exercising all together. (Bad Plan.) One day I realized that I had to do SOMETHING, besides fly fishing, for exercise, and, frankly, the easiest thing to do was to step onto a treadmill in the fitness room on campus and give that a whirl. You will note that I didn't say "most enjoyable" or "most preferable", but it was "easiest." That Christmas "Santa" gave me an iPod nano, so, I plugged in, got on the treadmill...and that was the beginning of my running days.
How can you get started running when you are a non-runner? Here's what I did.
I got on the treadmill, I turned on my music, and I decided that I could run for a song and then walk for a song, and when I walked I increased the angle of the treadmill so it was still work to keep going. After a while I started running for two songs in a row, then three, until one day I decided to see if I was able to run for an extended distance...maybe a mile or two. Sometime that winter Kat and I decided that we would participate in the 2007 Smithfield, UT, Health Days 5K race. Mind you, I'd not run 3 miles all at once when we decided to do this. So, after doing my running/walking regime for a few months I decided it was time to see if I could go 3.1 miles. It wasn't easy, but I did it.
I'd never been in a race before, and my whole goal was just to run the whole way. I did it. And I finished in 25:21, placing 3rd in the 40-49 yr old age group when I was 47. I didn't run as fast as Kat, but she was pleased and surprised, and she said, "Where'd that come from!?" "You ran 8 min miles!"
I wouldn't say I was hooked, but I had run a race and saw that it could be least to run and then be done.
During New Years of 2008 I resolved to run two races that year. One race would be the Smithfield Health Days 5k, and I'd figure out the other one later. I looked at races, courses, dates, etc. At first I thought I'd run either the Teton Dam 5K or 10K, but that race course goes up this hill in town that I HATE. So, I decided then that I would run the Teton Dam Half-Marathon instead, just so I wouldn't have to run that stinky hill (Millhollow Rd). Kat was shocked when I told her that I'd signed up for a 1/2 marathon! She then decided to run it wtih me. She actually pulled me through, and we finished with a respectable time of 1:58.
And I guess you can say that the rest is history. Since that first 5K race back in the spring of 2007 I've run three 5K races, two 10K races, and three 1/2 marathons.
Just in case you are interested (or incredibly bored), my races and times so far are:
2007 Smithfield Health Days 5K - 25:21.7
2008 Smithfield Health Days 5K - 23:14.6
2008 Teton Dam 1/2 marathon - 1:58:57
2009 Smithfield Health Days 10K - 51:14.6
2009 Teton Dam 1/2 marathon - 2:05:29
2010 Smithfield Health Days 10K - 51:56.0
2010 Utah Valley 1/2 marathon - 1:52:29
My latest race was yesterday, July 3, 2010. It was the Rexburg, ID, Liberty 5k, a local race that had only about 150 runners. I set of goal of finishing under 25 mins. I mean, I'd be OK with that. And if I could finish in under 24 that would be sweet! So the morning of the race came, and I ran the course, crossing the line with a time of 22:42 (7:18 min miles). Where did THAT time come from!? I won my division...that's the pay off of being older >50 and running in a small race...heh heh. Anyway, I was quite pleased.
OK, gotta run. Sigh...

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