Monday, September 27, 2010

September Stride

Running, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.

This weekend, I attempted to make a foray back into the world of running. Joined by my fiancée Jamie Reaser and long time friend Kevin Kuhn, we registered Friday night for a local Morgantown, WV race called the September Stride. It’s a 5K race that supports the Richard Rosenbaum Foundation. I think it’s pretty cool to think that I can run a race, get a solid meal and a free t-shirt, and support a great cause at the same time.

Friday night, we registered at the pre-race pasta dinner. There were two types of pasta, salad, green beans, drinks, and bread lined up for eating. The meal was absolutely incredible, and if that wasn’t enough, the keynote speaker for the evening was Canadian Olympian and former WVU athlete, Megan Metcalfe. She shared anecdotes from her big push toward the Olympic games, and answered questions from the dinner guests as well.

And there were door prizes. Jamie won a new pair of Adidas running shoes, and Kevin won $10 gift card for Ruby Tuesday and two movie passes. I received an energy bar for asking Ms. Metcalfe a question during a Q & A portion of her talk. By the way, the race was Kevin’s first attempt at running—EVER! He totally rocked it too. His goal was to finish, and he did it, and did it well.

As fun as all of the prizes were, Saturday morning offered a rude awakening as I stumbled back into the world of running races. Kevin, Jamie, and I met at my house and walked from my house to the starting line (it was a low-key warm up). Then Jamie led us through a series of dynamic stretches during the last portion of our walk and then it was race time.

It was a bit of a mini-reunion for me at the race. I saw friends from church and from my old job at Mylan pharmaceuticals. I had forgotten what a tight-knit community the world of local runners is. It was great to see so many friendly faces, and introduce my Jamie to fellow runners who have touched my life thru the years.

I had also forgotten what a challenge it is to run a 5K. In September 1999, I ran the September Stride on a whim, and was incredibly frustrated with my 26:13 race time, six months later I ran the same course in 20:11. After the race, Kevin had Jamie and I out to his place, and we were able to enjoy an incredible lunch as well as a relaxing post race recuperation time in a hot-tub. Eleven years later and my time was 27:25—I think I half expected to be able to run like I did ten years ago, but that expectation was not steeped in the hot-tub of reality.

All in all it was an incredible day! I got exercise early in the day, had a relaxing soak in a hot tub, and I was able to spend time with some great people. And now, I have a time to beat for my next race.

If you are thinking about running a race, just do it. Get out there and give it a try. As much as there are several runners out there, you are really only competing against yourself. Running a race affords you an opportunity to gear up for a goal, and is a fun way to connect with friends.

Here’s hoping Jamie, Kevin, and I can stick with it and continue to improve, and that you can do the same.

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