Running has been part of me since the days of AYSO soccer and basketball. I wanted to run fast to improve in sports. Now that I don't play, I run to stay in shape. I am no expert when it come to running. And to be honest, I do not like running long distances (I don't know how I ran a marathon). I don't get the runner's high that people talk about. On the contrary, I want to get it over with when I have a specific distance in mind. And that distance is 3 miles. Sure, I can run longer than that but my body responds best (recovery included) in this range. Earlier in the month, I ran my first 5k race since the pandemic hit. It felt great to be back out there and got me thinking why I do them. Here's why 5k races work for me.
First, is the nostalgia of my track days. When I hear the gun go off, it brings me back to the days when I wore my super attractive track uniform (for those that don't know, it's ultra short shorts and not very fitting top). When you run track, you get into your starting blocks and wait for the gun to go off and that is your signal to go. Your heart is pounding waiting in anticipation and BOOM. The race starts and everyone is off. The same is true for the 5k races, maybe without the pressure of needing to beat everyone else.
Secondly, is the environment. I like seeing all the kids and seniors giving their all. Occasionally, you see people in costume running and you think, why is that person wearing a dinosaur outfit and why is he or she in front of me? Haha. Everyone is cheering, smiling, and having a good time. I love seeing that.
Lastly, but most importantly, is the fact that its a race I can gauge my fitness level. It goes without saying that the body changes as we age. In high school, I ran a 5 minute mile. But, I am 50 pounds heavier and I cannot run that fast. When you prioritize strength, your running gets compromised. But if you run more, your strength gets compromised. Trying to figure out the balance between the two is difficult. However, it can be done and requires more planning. The thing I like about running is the fact that it uses time as a metric, so you can tell right away which category you fit in (fast, intermediate, or slow). Also, it categorizes those levels based on your age so you can tell where you fall in amongst your group. I may not be the fastest in my age group, but I know I don't want to be at the bottom.
Hope you enjoyed this month's blog. Stay tuned for more! -Kei