The 5K Revolution

I’ve been running for a while now. I had been working my way up to attempting my first 10k when I broke the third metatarsal of my left foot on what was supposed to be a lazy, easy running day. (On what was supposed to be a rest day, but I digress. That’s a topic for another time.)

This spring, I officially acknowledged that I was finally back to where I was before that injury. Sure, it might’ve come a little sooner but each time I’ve come close to declaring being 100% I’ve had an issue – shin splints, hip pain, foot cramps. Well, you get the idea.

I still struggle with Charlie-horse-like cramps in my arches on bad days, but I refuse to let that keep me down. At least, not down past the time it takes to soak tired feet in cold water before bed. Seriously, it feels great, and I sleep better when my feet aren’t hot. Two birds, as they say.

So, anyway. 10k. 6.2 miles. I’ve been toeing that line again lately. When I go to run club speed work sessions it often adds up to five to six miles, and when I run without watching the clock on Sunday mornings, it tends to reach that point as well. I’m not yet up for running 10k all at once without walk breaks but the potential for a fall 10k race has been on my mind lately.

Then I read a great piece about the 5k by Lauren Fleshman in Runner’s World magazine:

“10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome”

Yes, I’ve fallen for the same things she talks about in this article. I can do 5k; it’s time to do more. Or, after finishing a “long” run of walk/run five miles, 10k is doable, and the half is right around the corner. For you non-runners, a half is 13.1 miles, a half marathon. Or, in some circles only half crazy.

It gets worse from there.

Yes, I’ve considered training up to a half-marathon despite my frustrations with injury, heat, cramps, and other TMI things. I’ve considered it… but only a little. I like running. No, I love running. It is my private time. Just me, and the battle between I’m tired. I can walk now, and Yes, I’m tired, but I’m not going to improve if I don’t push. I can still do that in 3.1 miles. For 6.2 it’d be all about whether or not I should do 2-mile intervals, or set a stretch-goal of two threes.

It was already out there, but Fleshman’s article hit home at a time when I was thinking of doing something besides setting a 5k goal for the 2014 season. This spring, as I started speed work with a running club for the first time in my life, I set a goal of a sub-30 5k by the end of the year. 10k wasn’t in the plan. It doesn’t need to be. If I can break 30 minutes in the 5k, I’ll be thrilled. I’ll be fitter at 40, than I was at half that, and if that’s not something to be proud of, I certainly don’t expect to feel any better finishing a six-point-two at any time.

I don’t need to keep adding miles. I don’t need to daydream about running the Rock n Roll half-marathon in Vegas (Ok, I do – daydream, that is – but not seriously.)

As Fleshman put it: The 5K is freaking awesome.

I don’t need to be crazy, or half-crazy. I only need to run.



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