How Not to Train for a 5K

eric trains for a 5kAt the beginning of the summer, let’s say around May, my friend asked me if I wanted to run a 5k. I obviously said no. Then he said it was the Warrior Dash complete with obstacles, plus you get a fuzzy warrior helmet and other swag, and bonus, the proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. So I reluctantly agreed.

So in May I started running…. OK, I will not call it running, more like slow jogging, but not even fast walking. Let’s just say I got off the couch and moved my legs in a forward direction. I made it about a quarter mile and that was it. I was in trouble; I wasn’t really sure what 5k stood for but I was pretty sure I had a long way to go and a short time to get there.

Meanwhile, this so-called, quickly becoming my not-friend said, Let’s run in another race called the Mudathon. Me, being the genius that I am, said, what the heck, I won’t be able to finish the one, might as well not finish two. By the way, these two races have a two-week window between them, and both were set for August.

That gave me plenty of time to stretch my legs out and find all those 5ks that are out there (I guess that is 10ks now). ┬áSo let me tell you, it takes a lot to get off the couch and train in any way, especially since the only time I normally run is away from somebody chasing me, which occurs rarely or in some kind of sport, but let’s face it, my sporting days are mostly behind me now. About a month into my training and not feeling like I was getting anywhere, I said to myself, wait a minute, I am smarter than this; I work at a library and I am sure we have books on training or getting in shape or something like that. Lo and behold, we do. I found a book called Galloway’s 5k and 10k Running.

After months of grueling training, the fateful day had arrived. Despite the 12:30pm start time and the middle of August date, the weather was perfect for the Mudathon. No rain. No humidity. A slight breeze. Plus a temperature in the mid 70s. A better day would be impossible. Well, except I had to run.

Not just run: I had to navigate 40 obstacles (for course map just click). I guess that is what I signed up for….but I am not complaining because I had a great time. My favorite part was floating down the lazy mud river; my least was the monkey bars. I cannot tell you how many bales of hay I had to leap over; it had to be in the thousands. (video)

Two weeks later was the Warrior Dash. At the end of this one was fire that you had to leap over. To train for this, I jumped over a candle in my living room every time the electric went out this summer, which by the way was a lot. There were far less obstacles in this one which made it easier (course map), but there was some swimming involved which increased its awesomeness! I hate to admit it but for this one I sort of wore a kilt, but so did some of my friends. Also, I’m not reluctant to share with you that wearing a kilt is awesome. I think I am going to wear it all the time. My only worry was losing it on the course in the water or it getting caught on fire.

The best part of the day for me was the camaraderie between runners. Everybody helped each other, either physically or with motivation. I can also report I did too, except for the ladies who had on Pittsburgh Steelers garb; I only heckled them (Who Dey!).

All in all, I had two great weekends with great friends. I met some really cool people and didn’t get injured at all (a little second-day soreness but that’s it, maybe third day as well.) If you have a chance to participate in these or events like this, do them: you don’t have to run or jog, think of it as a hike. As for my training, I can run a 5k, but when doing these events, it is also important to work on the upper body as well because you will be pulling yourself over various objects. If you don’t feel like you can make an obstacle, somebody will help you, or just go around it. The main thing is to bring a buddy and meet some new friends; what more could you ask for in a weekend?

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