Posts tagged 5K
A friend I knew from high school named Lydia Morris was in town last weekend for Thanksgiving and participated in the YMCA’s Turkey Run with me. I love hearing her story and seeing the positive affect being active has had on her life. Each time I go to a race, I’m amazedat the myriad reasons people run. Some people are working to get in shape or to lose weight. Some are taking positive steps to fight heart disease or diabetes. Many people enjoy the sense of accomplishment that running gives them and the camaraderie of the running community. Some, like Lydia, make running part of their life to have time to themselves, to fight stress and to gain energy. I know that my own motivation contains a little of all of these reasons. I hope you enjoy Lydia’s race recap, and I hope you each can find great reasons to Get Out and get active!
- Laura Sievert
A Newbie to Running Tells Her Story
By Lydia Morris
“This is the first time I’ve ever been able to see my breath when running.” I said to a fellow 5K jogger the morning of the Quincy Family YMCA Turkey Run. I made a commitment to running this past June, and where I live in Atlanta, GA, a typical summer day is pretty hot and humid. Thanksgiving morning was my first time running in sub 50 degree weather, and I loved every minute of it!I didn’t start running to get in shape or to lose weight. After high school, my history of working out had been sporadic at best. I just didn’t care much about physical activity. That changed when after six long years of graduate school with no end in sight, I had settled into a routine of too little sleep, an unhealthy diet and very little free time. Though I did carve out a little time for church activities, dinners with friends and play dates with my little cousins, I had mostly forgotten about the world outside of school and work. My life was completely unbalanced, I had no energy, and to say I was stressed out would be an understatement.
Completely overwhelmed and burned out, I was desperate to find a way to effectively relieve stress. I decided that whatever it was needed to be cheap, fun and not take up too much of my time. I did a little research and decided to start running because it isn’t expensive, it’s not very time-consuming, and I heard from others that it can be enjoyable.
I started out slowly with the popular 9-week long Couch to 5K (C25K) program, which allowed me to ease into the workouts without wanting to immediately give up as in the past. For three days a week I alternated between treadmill workouts and walking/running around my neighborhood in the evenings after it cooled down.
I did start to enjoy running, and I also began to do a little research. I read yoga would help to prevent injuries, so I started going to a yoga class on Saturday mornings. I also read that healthy eating, getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water are also important habits for runners. As my running improved each week, I slowly adopted these habits and noticed a substantial difference. I dropped about ten pounds over the past five months, but I am also more focused, I have much more energy and I feel much happier. Running helped me make both my physical and my mental health priorities.
Just a few weeks of running had improved my mood and motivated me to make some healthy lifestyle changes. At that point I wanted to continue increasing my running distance, and I needed a goal other than just to finish the C25K program. It worked out that in August the cancer center at Emory University, where I go to school, announced it would holding its first annual 5K fundraiser (Winship Win the Fight 5K) in October. I formed a team with a few of my co-workers, signed us up, and continued to run weekly.
Before the race, I only made it through “week six” of C25K, which ended in a 20 minute run. For me, that’s about two miles. I figured if I could run two, I could run three. I tested my theory by looking up the course online and trying it out a week before race day. After about a mile of jogging I felt like I might pass out! It was much hillier than I was used to, so I ended up stopping and walk-running the rest of the way. It seemed the course was pretty much either flat or on a slight upward incline the whole 3.2 miles. Though I was pretty discouraged by all the hills, I set two goals for race day: to finish in 30 minutes and to not walk at all.
I noticed something interesting the morning of the race. The start/finish line was set up in the opposite direction from how I had practiced a week before. So the course would be mostly flat and downhill. Yes! With the excitement of the crowd (~2,000 runners and walkers) and my adrenaline going, I was sure I’d be able to accomplish my goals. I ended up running for the entire race with an unofficial time of 31:22, according to my wristwatch. I was really proud of what I accomplished in terms of running the whole race and contributing to a worthy cause (our team raised $1,250). I was actually happier than I’d been in a long time.
Getting back to the morning of the Turkey Run, in our family we usually hit a holiday trifecta every several years. I was born on November 24th, which is also my parents’ wedding anniversary. This year it was also Thanksgiving Day! I used this to my advantage when I signed up for the run and added my younger sister, Regina, to my team for the 5K leisure walk. I knew this was a little early for her, especially for a non- work day, but I figured I could convince her using the old “but it’s my birthday” line. It worked, and we were out of the house by 7:30 a.m. to go pick up our packets. I’m glad we arrived early because it gave us a chance to catch up on sister time since we don’t see each other very often. I also happened to see Laura who was running the 10K, and we chatted for a bit before the race started. She truly is an inspiration to anyone wanting to be more physically active!
Regina ran into a few of her friends — one was walking and the other was running the 5K. She‘d have a walking buddy and I’d have a running buddy! When the race started I was determined to beat my time of 31:22. My sister’s friend blew by me and as I watched her pass me up, but I decided to just go with my own speed. At my usual 10 min/ mile pace, and with some of my favorite tunes blasting in my ear buds, the first few miles were easy. I was reminded why I enjoyed my first race so much. I love jogging next to so many people who all have the same goal, and it’s nice that the traffic is cut off to allow us to do so.
Around mile three I got a pretty intense stomach cramp that didn’t go away with the controlled breathing I read about, so I walked for about half a minute. I quickly remember my goal of beating my previous finishing time so I started running again and managed to power myself up the last hill to the finish line. Gift to self: my official time was 31:09! On my 28th birthday I saw my breath while running for the first time, I ran my second 5K and I continued on my journey toward a healthier lifestyle initiated by a new found love of running.
My favorite running/fitness/motivation quote: “You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.”
It’s going to be hot and sunny all weekend, so I’ve got three ideas to share about how you can Get Out and enjoy the great outdoors.
1. United Way Partnering for a Better Community 5k Run/Walk
Why not start out Saturday morning by doing something good for yourself and good for your community? This is the first United Way Run/Walk in Quincy, but the organization hopes to make it an annual event. The 5k (3.1 mile) course will start from Quincy University Fitness Center at 18th and Oak Streets. Day-of-event registration will be $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 5 to 17. Registration starts at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m.
2. Mark Twain Cave
After your run, you’re going to need a good way to cool off. I suggest heading down to Hannibal and touring Mark Twain Cave. Tours have been taking place historic limestone cave since 1886, making it one of the nation’s oldest show caves. Of course, it gained much of its fame through the writings of Mark Twain, but I think the best reason to Get Out and see this cave is its rich geologic beauty. The fact that the internal temperature of the cave is 52 degrees year round certainly doesn’t hurt on a hot weekend either. Besides the regular tours of Mark Twain Cave, you can also try a lantern tour of nearby Cameron Cave. These special tours are only available Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For more information, tour times and ticket prices, visit www.marktwaincave.com
3. Siloam Springs State Park
So you ran on Saturday morning, took in the caves on Saturday afternoon … I think you deserve a nice relaxing day at the park to round out your weekend. Sunday, head out to Siloam Springs with the whole family. I’ve blogged about Siloam Springs before because it remains one of the highest-quality, most-affordable getaways in the area. There are lovely picnic areas with shelter houses, grills, playground equipment and restroom facilities that are all free of charge. The trails are nice this time of year, and a walk through the wildflowers can be very relaxing. You can also rent boats or canoes for Crabapple Lake and spend the afternoon on the water. The concession area even stocks fishing tackle and bait for rent, and the lake has largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, carp, crappie, catfish, rainbow trout and redear. Remember, if you want to fish, you’ll need to get an Illinois License before you come to the park. They can be purchased at many local retailers including Hy-Vee, Game Masters and Walmart. Day permits are also available.
Also, did you know that the Butterfly and Moth of North America Association have documented 75 species of butterflies in Adams County alone? Many of the species can be found at Siloam Springs around the lake and in the open meadows. Check out this website for the complete checklist: www.butterfliesandmoths.org/checklists?species_type=0&tid=912
So there you go, Quincy. Get Out this weekend and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. It’ll be gone before we know it.
The sign at the bottom read, “Hill? You Can’t Handle This Hill!”
Too shocked to have the sense to conserve my precious oxygen, I turned to the runner next to me and gasped, “Is this hill seriously trash talking us?!” I should have saved my breath because I needed every bit of O2 I could gather for the climb up Lover’s Leap in the middle section of the Hannibal Cannibal 5k Run.
The 16th annual Hannibal Cannibal was held this past Saturday morning in downtown Hannibal, Mo. More than 1,700 runners from 26 states braved temperatures that had already climbed into the mid-80s by 7 a.m. to participate in 5k or 10k courses. Each course began in downtown, headed up the highway and over the overpass, took a turn and then climbed the infamous 600-foot bluff known as Lover’s Leap.
This was only my second 5k run ever, but I was feeling pretty confident at the starting line. I gathered with the other slower runners near the back of the pack, and, when the cannon went off, the runners surged forward and formed a great river several blocks long and four lanes wide. My iPod playlist was cued up to a Deadweather song, and I felt like I was making good time as I crossed the highway overpass.
That’s about when the Hannibal Cannibal’s tag line, “It’ll eat you up,” began to make sense. Highway 79 from the overpass turns into a long, low hill. I’m going to say it’s about a 30-degree grade (though I’m just holding up my fingers to estimate, so I could be way off). The thing just goes on and on. I kept running, and it kept climbing. It was super hot, and I was kicking myself for leaving my sweatband sitting on my kitchen table back in Quincy. The course doubles back on itself, so the faster runners were all coming down the hill I was still trying to climb. I was jealous of those folks who had already made the turn.
When that hill finally did let up, I was treated to a glass of lukewarm water, and then started making my way back down the hill. The relief was only temporary though, because I was approaching Lover’s leap.
The “You Can’t Handle this Hill” sign was only the beginning of the Cannibal’s biggest weapon’s assault on me. The sign’s barb had me fired up, and I charged with renewed energy. Talk trash to me, will you, Hill? I’ll show you!
But it just kept coming! The grade increased to what seemed like 90 degrees, and the next sign teased, “Feel the burn?” I did feel the burn, but I wasn’t about to walk.
The Hill, unperturbed with my continued insolence, informed me, “Even your car can’t make it up this hill.” I’ll admit, the thought of my Camry and its very capable air conditioner caused me a great deal of mental anguish, but I was determined to keep going.
My calf muscles had worked themselves into a ball by the time the Hill hurled its next dagger, “Free Oxygen Ahead.” This one was a significant blow, because I’d completely forgotten what it was like to breathe. I had to walk past the next warning, “Yes, there is a Cannibal at the top.” I resigned myself to my imminent demise and thought, “At least if the waiting Cannibal devours me, I won’t have to run all the way back downtown.”
But suddenly I was there at the top. Some saintly volunteer had a water sprayer and I reveled in the cool mist as I jogged past. I grabbed a glass of water and then saw the Cannibal himself! He was gnawing on a bone that I assume was a human femur (or possibly a turkey-leg, but we’ll go with femur.) He was distracted! It was time to make a run for it!
I dashed past the distracted barbarian and didn’t even look over my shoulder to see if I was being pursued! It wasn’t long before I was turning the corner back toward the finish line. I’d made it! It was hard, and it was hot, but I was very proud. I clocked a time of 39 minutes and change. That was slower than my Bridge the Gap time, but I’ll tell you this, I’m not a bit disappointed. Running the Hannibal Cannibal was every bit of the challenge that they bill it to be, and I’m excited to have survived in one piece.
To view race results and to see lots more photos, visit http://hannibalcannibal.com
Also, congratulations to all the runners who participated in this race, especially my friends MaryAnn, Amy, Melissa, and Jeff. Well done, everyone!
A couple of weeks ago, I was out at South Park getting ready to go for a bike ride with the Quincy Bike Club, when I saw a huge group of people getting ready to go for a run. They were warming up and stretching, and through a little small talk, I found out that they were training for their first 5k run ever with a trainer from the NuFit facility here in Quincy.
Brian Pahlmann, a trainer from NuFit, was leading the group. He explained that the idea of the group was to take you from the couch to your first 5k in a matter of just 9 weeks.
The group I saw was made up of all beginners. They started in late April doing workouts that consist primarily of intervals of walking and running. The workouts get progressively longer and have shorter periods of walking and longer intervals of running. The class also teaches basic stretches for runners and different exercises to increase strength and flexibility so that participants can learn prevent the most common running injuries.
This group participated in their first 5k this weekend at the QND Running Raider Classic, and many will also be participating in next week’s Hannibal Cannibal.
NuFit also offers classes for novice or intermediate runners who would like to improve their 5k or 10k running times. The class is called Speed Training for Runners and is a 4-week program that starts July 12. The workouts in this series will help runners become faster by improving their fundamentals, running economy, lactate threshold and VO2Max.
Last month, I completed my first 5k run at Bridge the Gap, and I must have gotten bitten by the running bug while I was there, because I’m planning on participating in two more runs in the next few weeks. Here’s the info on those events, plus a fun-run for kids that you can get involved in this summer.
This event benefits the Quincy Notre Dame cross-country and wrestling teams. Runners can choose from a 5k run or walk, a 10k run, or a one mile Fun Run for kids under 13 years old. The courses all begin at Quincy Notre Dame High School and go towards South Park and the historic Stone Arch Bridge. The 10k course takes runners through Indian Mounds park. Pre-registrations are accepted through Saturday June 11 ($18 for adults, $15 for youth, $10 for the fun run) online at www.signmeup.com/71106 . (Registration after June 11 will be $23 for adults, $20 for youth, and $10 for the fun run). For more details on the event, you can contact Andy Edgar at (217) 257-6227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The tag line to the Hannibal Cannibal is, “It will eat you up!” I have the feeling that the tag line does not exaggerate! Last year, over 1700 runners from 26 states participated, and the event has become known as one of the toughest races in the US. Why is it tough? One word: Hills. The biggest one? Lover’s Leap. There are 10k and 5k runs at the Cannibal, or a 5k walk, and all of the courses go up the bluff leading to Lover’s Leap. I’m psyched, but not expecting to set new speed records. This one is about survival! Proceeds from the Hannibal Cannibal benefit Hannibal Regional Hospital. For more information and to register, visit www.hannibalcannibal.com or search Hannibal Cannibal on Facebook.
This year, your kids can go the extra mile for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital! The first nnual Event is sponsored by the Grimm-Schlipman Financial Group and will be held July 16 at Quincy’s South Park. Children grades K-8 are encouraged to come out and run or walk the 1.13 mile track to help benefit the hospital. Families and friends are also welcome to participate. You can cheer your child on, or run as a family and cross the finish line together. All of the registration fees go to the kids of St. Jude. Cost to participate is $10 for kids, $15 for parents. Participants will also receive an event T-shirt, race number, and a certificate of completion. To find out more about the event visit http://tinyurl.com/kidsforkids or email Jenny Craven at email@example.com to get an entry form.
It was probably the combination of the cannon blast that started the race, the QHS Marching Band’s drumline beating a cadence, the bagpiper playing along the side of the route, and the cold, steady rain falling from the gray sky, but as I charged up the Hampshire Street Hill with a battalion of nearly 3000 other runners of the Bridge the Gap to Health Race, I felt as if we were going to war.
Completing my first 5K at Bridge the Gap was a challenge that I’d set for myself six short weeks ago. (Read about it here) For many runners, 5K (3.2 miles) isn’t very far, but for me, it would be a mental test as much as a physical one. I never liked to run, and the many years of not liking to run had cemented themselves into a mental barrier that told me that I couldn’t run. So that was my battle: knock down the “Great Wall of Can’t.”
I wouldn’t say that I got off to an amazing start. Once the dreamy feeling of charging the hill was past me, I turned the corner and promptly stuck my left shoe in a deep puddle of water. Fantastic. Then, not 100 yards onto the Memorial Bridge, a faster runner tripped someone who, in turn, tripped me, and I sort of bounced into the side barrier in an ungainly manner. I was embarrassed, red-faced, wet-socked, and already winded. Quitting didn’t seem far behind.
I credit the British Invasion with saving my run.
Just as I was asking myself why I’d come out in this awful weather to do something I didn’t enjoy, my iPod brought up the song, “I Can See for Miles,” by The Who. The song made me look up and I realized that I could see for miles and miles and miles, and it was really cool to be where I was. I was running across the Mighty Mississippi River, and I wasn’t the only one in this group who thought it was tough. Things that are worth doing are always tough. The wind was whipping and the rain was falling, but I could finish this. I just knew it.
The Who and then Queen carried me across the first bridge in no time. (The Queen song, if you’re curious, was “Bicycle Race.” A friend thought it would be ironic if I put songs on my playlist about driving or biking. I also included “Drive My Car” by the Beatles.) The wind really picked up when I turned the corner in West Quincy. I was slowing down considerably on the Bayview Bridge, so I picked points out in front of myself that I knew I could make it to, and broke the run into pieces. If I had to walk, I only walked to the next lamppost, then I ran to the next. The course volunteers clapped as we ran past, and their support really made me smile and put a spring in my step.
It wasn’t long before I was back on Illinois soil headed down the hill to Bonasinga Drive with the finish line in sight. The song “Sweet Inspiration” by the Derek Trucks Band, propelled me toward the end of the race. I was smiling ear-to-ear and raising a fist in the air as I crossed the line. Jackie Joyner Kersee, seven-time Olympic Medalist and Sports Illustrated’s Greatest Female Athlete of the Century, placed a medal around my neck, and I jumped up and down, giddy with the thrill of crossing the line. My husband, who also ran the race, was waiting at the line and we shared a victory hug. My friends Angie and Sara crossed the finish not far behind me, and the atmosphere was just electric.
My finishing time was 37:44. The time put me a little more than half-way down the list of finishers, but I wasn’t really trying to beat anyone or anything except my own expectations. My friend Jeremy talks about “a runner’s high.” It’s when you forget about how hard it was to get to the finish line, and just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. I don’t think I’ve turned into a great lover of running from this experience, but I did feel wonderful about accomplishing something I didn’t know I could do, and I got a small taste of that runner’s high. I’d encourage everyone to give Bridge the Gap or another run a try. It was something I’ll certainly never forget. I’m already looking forward to next year, where I’ll be charging along with my fellow warriors past the ruins of the Great Wall of Can’t.
As I’ve been preparing myself for my first 5K at Bridge the Gap this Saturday, I’ve found myself in need of something to boost my motivation. Let me tell you — I found exactly what I needed. I’m honored that Tim Cassidy has agreed to share his truly inspirational story with me, and with you, the readers of the “Get Out” blog.
By Tim Cassidy:
Before starting my current career, I grew up working on a ranch and working for the U.S. Forest Service cutting down trees. So, I was very physically active whether that was wrestling steers, stacking hay, cutting trees, stacking logs, or whatever it may be. I graduated college and started a career where I sat at a desk. I went from being able to eat whatever I wanted and keeping somewhat under control, to leading a more sedentary lifestyle. I won’t kid you: I was never a small guy, but I was a lot more in shape. So, after three years of sitting at a desk I quickly went to being over 300 lbs. The company moved me twice so health wasn’t on the top of my list. I was offered a third position move to Des Moines, IA I decided I had gotten to a point that something needed to be done. I started hurting all over on joints, pain in my chest, and just plan out unhealthy.
In April 2008, I started to do something about it. My starting weight was 312 pounds. I didn’t have much of a plan. Luckily for me, I had a coworker that worked out every morning, so I tag along to get started. It wasn’t pretty at the beginning; in fact it was plan out ugly and embarrassing. My first time on a tread mill, I’d covered not even a quarter of a mile, and I was breathing so hard that I sounded like a grizzly bear stuck in a barbed wire fence.
I made dietary changes. I stopped drinking all soda and stuck with coffee in the mornings and water the rest of the time, and, except for an occasional alcoholic beverage, that was it. I quite eating all candy, deserts, snack food, and all other sweets. I only went out to eat if it was a business function, holiday, or family event (this was probably the hardest part for me because Des Moines has Taco Johns and it is my favorite restaurant ever, and I hadn’t lived around one for 6 years). I had a small breakfast in the morning, yogurt at 9 am, small lunch of protein/vegetables, an apple at 3pm, and a small dinner. It took time to get my body used to not over-stuffing at each meal. I got used to getting up a 4:30 a.m. for my workout, and eating healthy the first year. I went from 312 pounds from April 2008 to 250 pounds by May 2009 when I ran my first Bridge the Gap to Health. I ran the 5K with a goal to finish in under 30 minutes. I finished in 30 minutes and 31 seconds. My time was a little heart breaking, but motivating.
After finishing the race I decided I would run the half marathon the next year. I don’t really know what I was thinking at that moment, because that is over 13 miles. My training became more intense. I ran five days a week, four short runs and one long run. I gradually worked the distances up as the year went on. I ran into a few setbacks with an ankle roll, pulled muscle, and dieting issues. I actually got to a point of exhaustion because I wasn’t taking enough calories for all exercising I was doing. I learned a lot about taking in the right carbs, sugars, potassium, protein to be a runner, and that became an important part of training for my half marathon.
Three months prior to race I cut all liquids besides water out and stuck to a strict diet. The day of the race I weighed in at 194 pounds. That was a total loss of 118 pounds by race day. My goal going into the race was to finish in 10 minute miles. After working through the crowd at the beginning and battling my nerves, I finally settled into my pace at about mile three. The temperature of 37 degrees was in my favor, because I did all of my training outside, even through the winter. From mile 3 to mile 10, it was normal running for me. I covered the ground quick and easy and had no issues. At mile 10 the pain started kicking it, starting with the ankle I rolled, pain with every step worsen as the time went on. The last mile, my pulled muscle from early in the year starting tightening and it made it a struggle to focus.
All of that pain went away as I saw the finish line a half-mile away though. Finishing the race wasn’t just a relief, it was also extremely emotional. My 2-year goal of hard work and dedication came to an end and had paid off. I finished the race ahead of my goal of 10 minute miles. My official time showed an average of 8 minute and 19 second miles.
Training for Bridge the Gap and losing the weight has made an amazing difference in life. I now have the energy to do whatever. It’s great being able to play with my nephews and nieces without breathing heavy. I can work on the farm and keep up with everyone else. I feel better all-around. The confidence factor has come slower though. A lot of people are amazed how I look, and comment on me looking so much better. It has taken me almost a year later for me to see that same thing. I watched myself as a big guy my whole life and it came off slowly over 2 years, so the change was gradual for me.
My advice to people who would like to be more active and get healthy is this: Anyone can do it, it takes time, dedication, hard work, and a mindset of success.
You can still walk or run in the Bridge the Gap to Health Race this Saturday. Please view my other blog for more information here: http://www.thelocalq.com/blogs/outdoors/?p=55