Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Renewed Mindset and Harvest 5K

As recently as four months ago, I was unmotivated to do any kind of physical fitness-related activities. That is hard to believe if you really know me. I have always been a sports junkie who loves playing and watching sports, but my motivation to stay in shape had fizzled to an all-time low for quite a long span of time.

I was simply out of shape. I could still run, play basketball, and perform at a decent level in exercise-related activities, but I had bad knees weighing me down and every excuse to not exercise because of it.  My girlfriend Ellen had been really getting into exercising, but I just couldn’t find that motivation.

I knew I needed to get back in shape, so I finally got after it. I began counting calories and limiting my food intake with MyFitnessPal. Bad knees or not, I decided to get out there and run. At first, it wasn’t fun at all and I’d end up with purple and achy knees, but I had to push through it. The first few weeks were rough, but I began seeing results, felt faster and stronger with each run, and my knees were hurting less each time. Also, I began to notice a shrinking stomach and pounds being shed.

I can’t really pinpoint what it was that got me to change. Maybe it was wanting to feel better about my health. It could partially be seeing my girlfriend work so hard to look great. I also think a big part of it had to do with me realizing that I needed to be glorifying God with my body. God has given me some athletic ability, and it would be wrong to not use that and be slothful.

I continued to see major results and shed over 20 pounds. It was time to put all that running to the test, so I decided to sign up for the Harvest 5K to be held Saturday, June 1st at the Harvest Bible Chapel Elgin campus. Ellen, my college roommate Kevin Tenney (Shoggs), and Kelly Wachsmuth (Kevin’s girlfriend and final member of our bub crew) all signed up for the race. We had a fun time hyping up the race the night before and nearly psyching ourselves out.

Me, Ellen, Kelly and Shoggs after the Harvest 5K.
We got out to the Elgin campus bright and early and got all checked in and received our performance fit shirts and bibs to be worn during the race. There would be a kid’s one mile race before our race at 8 a.m., so we had some time to stretch and get ready for the race.

I really didn’t have any expectations in terms of a time I wanted to run the race in. When I was out running/training by myself, I never really kept track of my pace. I would run for a certain length of time, but I never tracked the distance. I ran cross country in middle school, yet those races were only two miles long. The only other 5K I had ever ran was at Trinity in the fall of 2011 during homecoming week. I took third place in a time of 21:02 (6:47 mile pace), but I wasn’t in the best of shape and knocked down a huge IHop meal about six hours before the start of the race.

I was pumped up/nervous for the race because I really didn’t know what to expect but knew the adrenaline of chasing other runners and running an actual race would motivate me. The horn sounded and we took off up a small hill at the beginning of the course.

The course was a fun run around the church’s campus that was two laps/loops long. The first lap was only slightly over a mile long, while the second lap was about two miles long and more elaborate, winding through the woods on two occasions, through the church parking garage, and heading back towards the back of the church.

There were a handful of guys in front of me who looked like real runners. I just wanted to keep a couple of guys in my sight, and I felt like I was making decent time. The hardest part of the race was the first 4-5 minutes. I felt like I was sucking air and didn’t know how I’d be able to keep up the pace I was at.

I wasn’t able to catch the guy in front of me as we headed for the finish line, but I also didn’t let the guy behind me pass me. I came in at 19:31 (6:17 mile pace), good for 7th place out of 299 runners who participated in the 5K and second in my age group (20-29). I was pleased with the personal best because I didn’t really have any expectations nor did I expect to break 20 minutes. The guy who won it ran it in a blistering 16:26. He also finished 52nd in this past October’s Chicago Marathon.

Ellen came in with a time of 27:13, good for 74th overall and third place in her age group (20-29). It was also a personal best for her and would have been even better if she didn’t start behind a pack of people. I’m really proud of her because she did all of this with not much training in running and with a pair of cross trainers instead of running shoes. She’s big into body pump, Zumba, and spin classes, so it was impressive that she could do this well in the run.  

Ellen and I after the race. 
Kelly finished her first ever 5K, and Shoggs was disappointed with his time, but we still had a great time at the event. We went to Starbucks after the race and saw fellow “5K-ers” there.

Personally, I was happy with my time and just happy to be able to run the 3.1 miles while feeling good doing it. I’m looking forward to doing more races this summer. Ellen and I now have these fun events to share together. I can’t wait to run in more races in the near future!

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