Monday, November 28, 2011

Running My First 5K = Success!
Beachside before the 5K.
Anyone that knows me understands that I am not a runner. I am not built to be a runner, nor do I enjoy it. I have always been a sprinter and that came in handy when playing rugby, but endurance running has never been my strong suit. After watching my wife run as hard as she has for the past few years and then seeing an 85 yr. old man running the Long Beach Turkey Trot, well, I had no excuses!

I had no expectations going into the 5K. My two goals were to finish the race and to try to do it in less than 40 minutes. I also wanted to challenge myself in the fact that I did not go get new running shoes. Instead, I opted to run in my year-old cross-trainers. Heavier, bulkier, but still a good shoe that I was comfortable wearing.

Our start time was at 8:00 AM. There was hardly any sun, but the day was great. How many people can say that they went running, in Long Beach, CA on Thanksgiving Day in shorts? Sure, it was 50 degrees, but with a base layer under my The Will to Hunt shirt it was great.

There were over 6,000 people running/walking during the Turkey Trot, but I wasn't concerned. I was going to run at my pace, my way, and enjoy it. That's exactly how I did it, too.

The first mile wasn't so bad. I ran the entire first mile, but without having too much time to stretch my back started to tighten up. In the past, this is what has caused me to not go running. My back tightens to the point where I have to limp to walk. Not today! I was not about to let that stop me, so I slowed my pace and ambled along. After a short time it subsided, to a degree, and I was able to pick up the pace. 

At a mile and a half I started walking/running. My wife and I kept passing one another along the way. She's the one who encouraged me to run more and it was great to be able to participate this year with her instead of just cheering from the sidelines. It was great to support each other along the way!

When I made the turn at the halfway point I felt invigorated. I knew that if I kept pushing at the pace I was at that I'd be doing well. Steady as she goes!

I was entertained throughout the 5K by the great costumes people wore and by a few kids who kept running ahead and zipping in and out of people on the path. What energy they had! It was actually very inspiring and it kept me pushing a little bit harder. I only walked when I had to and jogged more and more.

The last leg of the race has an uphill climb, followed by a downhill slope and then a flat finish. I paced myself up the hill, walked the first part of the downhill to level out and then kicked in the afterburners. It felt so good to sprint that last 1/16th of a mile. Sprinting is what I do best and it felt fantastic!

As the time clock crept into view I could see that I was well under the 40 minute mark. Tick-tick-tick... 36:45...36:46... I started to run even faster. I was NOT going to let the clock hit 37:00. I crossed the finish line at 36:51 and it felt great! My adrenaline was pumping, heart was racing and my mind was clear. I was even handed a pumpkin pie at the end. Score! Always hoped to get one, but never expected one. (I love pumpkin pie, so this was a bonus for me!)

My wife followed me by only a few seconds (she is a much better runner than I am, I just love to sprint) and we were both full of smiles. We had done it and had done it together! It wasn't even 9:00 AM on Thanksgiving Day and we had run a 5K, collected a pie and it felt great. We both felt like we could run another one we felt so good!

The gratitude I have for my wife for inspiring me to run the Turkey Trot this year is beyond words. With us working hard to lose the weight we lost, well, I couldn't wait to get out there and run this with her. I saw first hand how hard she works at the gym and how dedicated she is to staying fit. Awesome job, babydoll and thank you for the inspiration and encouragement!

You can bet we'll be doing this again next year and I hope I can step it up to a 10K. That will be one of my goals for 2012 for sure. 


  1. Very Cool! Congrats on the finishing the race under your goal and in style!!! Love that Shirt!!!

  2. Congratulations Al, that's awesome!

  3. Congrats, Al! That is a great accomplishment!

  4. Thanks, guys! It was a great experience.

  5. You did great! It was so funny passing each other off and on! Great way to start Thanksgiving...and be thankful for the ability to run too!

  6. awesome job Al, but I have a question.....when EXACTLY did you sprint at rugby :) Congrats on the time! Robert Groom

  7. @kymberli q. - Thanks babe! So did you and you are so right, I definitely need to be thankful for the ability to run, walk and just be mobile.

    @Groomer - I was an ace sprinter when the beer and wings were served. :)

  8. Way to go! Be careful though, I've heard it's addicting. Once you've ran your first race, you'll be looking for the next one to enter. I'll admit that I've caught the bug and my feet remind me every now and then to stop the madness. :)

  9. well done !did you also shoot your bow and lift weights that same day ? lol. question is when you run it next year what will your costume be ? good job! happy hunting training ! leewa

  10. Way to go you two! I love the fact that you both ran together. It's a great motivator!

    Keep up the good work Al. You're lookin' awesome!