Thursday, September 22, 2011

Long Road to Life Style Changes (Part 3 Final)

Lessons Learned from Second 5K Walk Event

Three weeks ago I went to the park again with my wife, son, niece and assorted children. The kids ran the half mile and the mile courses. My wife, son and niece joined the kids on the mile run. I saved my energy for the 5K course. I waited patiently for over an hour for the warm-up events to finish.

Just as the runners were lining up for the 5K event my niece (and pace setter) announced that it was too late for her, she had to get the kids home and get to an eleven o’clock appointment. A moment’s disappointment, then the start was announced.

There were two lessons learned Saturday. The first was act, don’t waste time thinking. There was no time to consider possibilities or alternate plans. No time to think or cajole my son to go with me. I was there to walk/slog a 5K course and that was what I would do. I don’t remember when I started to slog, but I slogged intermittently during the first mile. A group of young teens and their youth leader formed a pact just in front of me; once or twice I passed them during one of my early slogs. Then I would fall back, but they were always just ahead.

It was a very hot and humid morning and the middle section of the course was on a park road, not on the interior paths and the heat began to sap my energy. But I managed to maintain a good walking pace despite more runners passing me. Several glances back spurred me on.

Just Yards from Finish Line

I was not last. As it turned out the participant right behind was a young man pushing a stroller. At one point he wife came back and joined him. Then further behind him was a man I passed very early on and had chatted with briefly. He was a race volunteer and 72 years old. Later I reviewed a picture that my son took of me near the finish line and discovered another participant behind me. Perhaps there were more even further back.

The second lesson I learned was that in races (and in life) there is always some ahead of you and always someone behind you. Perhaps you can catch the ones ahead or allow them to outdistance you; or allow the ones behind to run you over or leave them in your rear view mirror.

How you view your position is a matter of attitude. At least for races my outlook is to catch the one runner ahead me. He or she has a target on their back. The ones behind are out of sight and out of mind.

This time my 5K time was 41 minutes and 40 seconds. Much better than the first try just four weeks ago. The group of teens I had slogged behind very early in the run waited for me at the finish line; they, along with my wife and son, cheered me on as I crossed the finish line and rewarded me with a bottle of Gatorade.

See you next month at the park. Keep moving.
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