Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dirty Sock 10K - progress and firsts

As I consider my race this Sunday I'm thinking about my running progress over the last year. It was just about a year ago when I saw the results from my annual physical and realized that I needed to make a fundamental change in my diet and activity. I am fortunate that changing my eating habits was a fairly easy effort. I had always eaten well but my meals were too large and I had too much sugar in my diet. I simply changed expectations about portion sizes and planned everything I would eat during and after a meal. The activity part was the bigger challenge because, with the exception of playing Wii with my kids on occasion, I rarely did anything close to exercise. I had always been an active person but in the past few years I'd become fairly sedentary. Rather than lace up a pair of running shoes and hit the pavement I understood that I needed to manage expectations for activity as well. My prior foray into running a decade earlier taught me to take a careful approach to fitness.

Looking back at my pace times last September I can see where I began to transition from primarily walking to primarily running. I can also see how my weight declined through September from its August high and I know that less weight led to a better experiences on the road and treadmill. I'll consider October 1st as the start of my return as a runner and I'm reflecting upon how, eleven months later, I'll be running in a 10K race. This race will be the fourth competition I've entered in the past five months. Eleven months ago it would have seemed unlikely that I would be able to do this run. I was considering distances over a mile a great success and when I started The Emerging Runner in November my best continuous distance was only 2.6 miles. So Sunday's race has a few firsts: My first 10K race, my first trail race and my first race with my running partner, Adventure Girl. My wife and kids are excited to be going there although an 8:00 AM start will mean a very early morning for everyone.

I don't really know how I'll do in this race. I ran the course at a modest pace a couple of weekends ago and was fairly spent after that. Races do supply a lot of energy and I won't be doing as much talking so I think I'll do better than I did that day. At least I hope I do. 6.2 miles is still an intimidating distance but its a length I've run before. I love the trails and I'll appreciate the shelter from the sun. I hope the weather is clear of rain leading up to the race because a muddy trail would add a lot to the effort. It really doesn't matter though, progress has been made.

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