Monday, March 19, 2012

A practice 5K on my day off.

Today was a furlough day. In California we are facing a state-wide budget crunch, so the state has given school districts less money. It has also given them permission to provide fewer days of instruction, thus allowing them to give teachers days off with no pay: a furlough day. I think we have seven this year, equal to a 3 1/2% reduction in yearly salary. But I have to say, I'd rather have days off with no pay, than the same number of days for the same pay. At least this way is fair. (Except the kids lose seven days of instruction.)

So this furlough day is an extra day off for me. So what did I do with it?

Well, for starters I did an experiment. Since I've signed up for a 5K walk/run, I decided to see if I could do one. Last night, I found a course: here. I printed myself a copy. Got up the next morning. Ate breakfast. Showered. Put on my running gear, including my new shoes. And drove to the "starting line."

Then I drove the course, and since it followed city streets,  I made some mental notes about mile markers. 1, 2, and 3 mile markers fell in nice places.

I started out walking. I wanted to be conservative. I thought I could walk at least at a 3 mile per hour pace, which would put me at one hour for the course. I set out briskly, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that much of the course had a dirt path (crushed granite) alongside the sidewalk. I also did the 1st mile in 16 minutes. The first mile was mostly flat, but the second mile was slightly uphill. I tried to keep the pace up, and I finished it right at the 32 minute mark. The rest was downhill!

I wanted to see if I could run for a minute, so I did. It's about 130 steps going slightly down hill. I walked some more, ran a few more times, and finished the last mile in 13 minutes, for a baseline Personal Record (PR) of 45 minutes. Woo-hoo!

I did a cool down walk and stretch afterward, and then I drove home. I logged my miles and time in my runner's log, and thought I'd chronicle my latest chapter here. So I did.

This is my ** happy dance **.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao-tzu

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Runners Run Races?

Recently I posted this on FaceBook:

‎"...the difference between a runner and a jogger is a signature on a race application." (Dr. George Sheehan) Now race applications are signature-free and on-line, but my name is being put on one: the CSUF iCare Festival's 5K Run/Walk. My daughter Joanna is the instigator... supporter... and sponsor of this event for me. April 21st, 2012... here I come! One of my mottoes from the early '70s: "Behold the turtle! He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." 40 years later, I'm still making progress... and I'm still sticking my neck out.

So it's official... I'm going to run in an organized running event. I'll be lining up in the rear. My goal will be to finish. Whatever my time is... it will be my Personal Record (PR). A new baseline for a new chapter in The Life and Times of Don Evans (a book with a very small readership, but very important to me!)

I already had a training schedule. I have the shoes. And now I have a race date: April 21st. My daughter noted that the date is a week or so after Tax Day, which marks the eight week threshold that 80% of beginning runners don't reach. I'm trying to be part of the other 20%. 

I'm on week three of my running journey, and the race comes as week eight will be beginning. 

John Bingham, a runner and writer, says of himself, "

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

Change requires courage. There is always a risk of failure. But then... the main goal is to show up, prepared, and to be glad that I'm fit enough to undertake my first "race" in over  40 years. That's what I'm shooting for. 

And it feels good to be on the road to my 2012 dream: I choose to be in charge of my habits. I let it be easy.