Born To Run


If you read my last post, you know that I had 1 week to prepare for last week’s Turkey Trot and had a lot of fun running it. Well, the bug bit me and I signed up for another one that took place this morning, the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis in Northville. It was another 5K 9 days after the Turkey Trot. I took a few days off of exercise for the holiday, so I really trained only a few days in between.

On Thursday, though I thought I might be crazy, I decided to try and run 5K outside at night while it was only 35° outside. Well, not only did I do it (click for proof!), I did it in a PR time of under 29:00 (accomplishing the goal I set for the Turkey Trot). This was a huge confidence booster for me and I couldn’t wait for Saturday!

The Run

The scene this morning was much different than that on Thanksgiving. The field was smaller (about 1,400 vs 21,000) and seemed much more competitive. (They even listed off a bunch of different record holders that would be racing that day including a pair that traveled from the Ukraine.) In any event, I knew I wasn’t going to make the mistake I did a week and a half ago by getting behind slower participants and having to circumvent them.

Securing a spot near the front, I put this strategy to work and quickly realized its downside. In running, a psychological effect definitely takes place when you pass a runner and when a runner passes you. Not that I expected to win, but my morale did seem to take little jabs as men, women, children, and even people pushing strollers would breeze right past me!

Not only was today more competitive, but also more challenging since it involved icy road conditions, trails, and a total climb of 108 feet.  So how did I do?

26:43!!!  I completely annihilated my previous PR and it felt amazing! (see results here)

If you want to see a map of the run including all of the climbs click here.  (The time is wrong because I forgot to stop recording at the finish, so there are a few minutes at the end where I’m just walking around cooling down.)


I was so amped from my performance that on the drive home I passed by my gym and had so much energy I had to stop in and do 3.65 miles on the elliptical and 9.25 miles on the bike!  I think there might be something wrong with me.


According to Kindle, I’m about 51% through a fantastic book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  Even if you’re not a runner, this book will keep you turning the pages and you’ll be amazed by what some of the characters (who are actually real people) are able to do.  The most interesting thing is a Mexican tribe called the Tarahumara who, though ancient in their traditions (they use favors and corn beer as currency over traditional money), STILL EXIST TO THIS DAY and its members run 50-60 miles A DAY… and simply for the childlike joy of running.  Just a few of the interesting facts about them:

  • The older members are faster than the younger members.
  • They run like children because no one ever told them to stop or slow down.
  • No one ever told them running is supposed to be hard work with an expected payoff of a medal or a cute butt.  It’s still just fun.
  • They run barefoot or in flimsy sandals.  Modern running shoes (including the most “high tech” Nikes available) actually caused them injury.
  • They drink like sailors and smoke black tobacco on a regular basis.

Anyway, it’s an extremely interesting read and the captivating look inside the culture of “ultrarunners” will make you question why people stop running in the first place when their natural born instinct is to run.

Future Plans

As of now, I plan to continue improving my conditioning over the winter and I hope to run in the Race for the Cure in May 2012 with some co-workers, friends, and family members (let me know if you’re interested).  By this point, I’d like to be able to participate in the 10K.

After that, my tentative goal is to run in the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon on October 12, 2012.

Parting Thought

If you haven’t run in a long time, give it a try.  IT’S FREAKING HARD!  But the next time it gets a tiny bit easier… and then a tiny bit more…  But you will truly FEEL ALIVE, you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you’re done, and you will sleep like a baby.  We were designed and born to run.
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