Friday, November 4, 2011

My Goal is To Finish

Well, I did it. I've registered for Western Michigan University's Turkey Trot, and will run my first 5k on November 19.

I think it was January 2010 when I wandered into Gazelle Sports to buy a pair of running shoes. Armed with shoes and a training plan, I started running.

I stuck with that plan for a month or so, and then tapered off. Later in the year, I tried again. I tended to run in the morning, and it was always a challenge, using a watch and flashlight to time my walking & running. Of course it was winter, so mittens made it even more interesting... In any case, both times, I fizzled out.

In March of this year, I started training again. This time, I used the Couch-to-5k running plan. Similar to the plan that Gazelle Sports used, it was a combination of jogging and walking. Geared to increase the jogging over time, the goal was to be able to run a 5k in nine weeks.

Best of all, I found a podcast that would handle the annoying issues of timing. Laura, with her lovely British accent, told me when to walk and when to jog. I loved her cheery "Off you go!" when it was time to run, and her encouraging "That was fantastic!"

But even with Laura's support, I petered out again. I did weeks 1 and 2 twice, then week 3, and then I did week 4 twice. I'm looking at my running log to see this, but I don't remember why I was moving so slowly through the plan. It was mid-May when I stopped altogether, and I'm sure that was related to the weather, and to walking Bonnie.

I try to walk Bonnie every day, and our favorite time is at lunch. (Well, that is my favorite time; Bonnie's favorite time would be "now," any time of the day!) When the weather gets warm, I shift her walks to morning, and I'm guessing that's what happened in May - my running yielded to walks with Bonnie.

So. In September, Bonnie's walks shifted back to mid-day, and I started the Couch-to-5k program, again. This time, I've moved steadily through the plan, and tonight I did the second run for week 6. That means I've been running 8, 10, 20 minutes at a stretch. It's amazing to me.

(I remember years ago, when my sister persuaded me to run with her. I think we were both home, on break, from college. We ran from our home to the nearby grade school; I think it was .5k. Lori did great; I lay down on the ground and pondered the benefits of just dying right then and there.)

Granted, this will not be an elegant 5k. I've told my friend, "My goal is not speed; my goal is to finish." I've been using to track my runs, and I see two issues. One is that, based on my averages, I am expecting it will take me an hour to run the 5k. I'm okay with that.

More challenging is that my runs won't be near 5k in length by Nov 19. I'm guessing I'll have to run twice as far as usual, and that could be tricky. My thought is that I'll run the equivalent of a training run (28 minutes by then), and then shift to a mix of walking & jogging to finish the 5k. I'm okay with that, too.

Finishing fast can be a goal for another day. For this 5k, my goal is simply to finish.


  1. Brava, big sister! I think finishing is a great goal. I wish I could watch you cross the finish line.

  2. This makes me think of the time I decided to run a 5k with a woman who was 7 months pregnant. She stopped to use the restroom twice and she still beat me :)

  3. Annette, that is too funny! Thanks for the best laugh of my evening. :)