Friday, August 26, 2011

GLASA Twilight 5K 2011

When I was growing up, I was short and skinny. I was not very strong. I weighed about sixty-five pounds in sixth grade. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had only put on enough weight to weigh 108. I always had speed. In gym, we would always have to run five warmup laps before playing the sport of the day. I would pride myself on trying to always be the first one to complete the laps. With maybe two exceptions over a two year span, I was always the first one to finish. In the summer which I turned twenty-one, I dedicated myself to bulk up. For the next five years, I pushed myself to get bigger and stronger. Along the way, I did my best to eat everything in sight so that I may turn all of it into hulking muscle. Of course, I became huge, but lost my trademark speed. When I was twenty-six years old, I took it upon myself to forgo all that heavy weight and reclaim the speed from when I wore a younger man's clothes. I had become comfortable running double digit miles. In fact, I once asked my brother to time me as I tried my best to run one mile in under ten minutes. I figured, ten minutes is more than attainable considering how fast I was when I was growing up. I performed this test on a treadmill. I started at a very slow pace increasing the speed every minute or so. I hoped that by the time I neared the one mile mark, I would have the machine rolling along at ten miles per hour. I would probably only need to run at that pace for twenty to thirty seconds before reaching the one mile mark so it would not be a big deal that my little legs would be pushing that speed. My brother kept time. I rolled along. I was huffing and puffing as he informed me I was getting close. Finally, the machine was up to ten miles per hour and my legs felt like jello. I could not hold on much longer. Luckily, he told me I had crossed the one mile mark. I checked my time which was 10:21. That could not be. A few days later, I tried it again. Once more, my time was 10:15. I had lost my speed. Even as I had hoped that I was slowly working my way back, it turned out, I was not. It was time to concern myself less with speed and focus on distance. Maybe the more miles I ran, the fitter I would become and then eventually, I would get in better shape and could return to being fast. I kept adding miles to my body. the weight kept coming off. Little by little I noticed I was at 9:30 per mile. then 9:00. 8:00. One day, I noticed I was running comfortably at 7:30. With the help of a philosophy change in my weightlifting routine which saw me go from massive weight to less weight more reps while jumping rope and dedicating myself to more martial arts training, I had lost fifty pounds and had become faster able to run 3.1 miles in 23:15.

As I have written in previous entries, I found myself having to go into production for a play which I had written and in which I was starring so I could no longer find the time to continue my work outs. Over the years, my pace for races have fallen back closer to double digit minutes per mile, but I was able to average just under nine minutes per mile at a 5K event last September. The Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association's Twilight 5K in Lake Forest, Il. I had a wonderful experience running with a coach and Ironman triathlete who kept me going. In fact, at one point very early in the race, we were going just under eight minutes per mile. We settled into a nice pace and hung on at the end. It is a flat fast open course since there is usually 400 to 500 runners allowing for some wide open running. I am excited about returning for the third year in a row. Maybe this year, I will get closer to those training days of seven and a half minutes per mile. I will enjoy the experience and hope many of you come out and participate in this great fundraising event for a wonderful organization. You can see me run my minutes per mile whatever they may be this year. You can also register to hopefully set a new personal best. Either way, I hope you come out to this great race which has plenty of entertainment for the entire family with popcorn, refreshments, beer, live music, games, and a race.

For more information about the GLASA Twilight 5K, please log on to:

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