Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In The Running Mood

A few months ago, one of my friends asked me if I wanted to participate in something called "The Giant Race".  Given the name, I figured it was a running event and I was correct.  The event was sponsored by the San Francisco Giants baseball team.  My friend's reasoning for asking me?  He said I played too much basketball and it was time to do something "different".  I couldn't argue with my friend so I signed up.

Alas,  I had forgotten about the event until my friend reminded me a few days before.  Thus, about 10 days ago (on August 4th, 2013), I got up early, met my friend and participated in the event.  My friend and I had decided to join the 5K race (3.1 / 3.2 miles).  

I didn't know what to expect as my friend and I trekked to AT&T Park in downtown SF.  As I got there, I wasn't too nervous.  In fact, it was pretty exciting to be part of a race that had 7000 people registered!

As for the event itself, the 5K event was a mix of walkers and runners.  I chose to run most of the race and weaved through the various walkers.  It wasn't easy but it also wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I completed the event in about 30 minutes and 17 seconds which surprised me (about 9:46 per mile).

Participating in this event brought back to the last time I ran competitively.  That was in high school when I ran cross-country.  My high did not have a sports program until my sophomore year.  I spent my freshman year volunteering as a basketball coach at my old grammar school.  When the school announced that a sports program was being started, I had to make a choice of a sport to participate in.

In the fall, there were a choice of soccer, tennis and cross-country (football is fall sport too but my high school was too small to form up a team).  I didn't really like soccer.  I didn't think I was good enough to play tennis so I basically defaulted to cross-country.  I can't even say if I knew what the heck cross-country was.

In any case, I spent my last three years of high school participating in cross-county.   I was strictly a high school runner and not a competitive runner.  I only conditioned during the season and wasn't dedicated enough to try and condition during the offseason.

While I didn't win any medals during my high school running career, it was a good time.   I bonded with teammates since we had to run a lot for practice.  We got outside a lot and had to commute on the bus home.   That gave my teammates and I plenty of time to chat.

In participating in "The Giant Race", I actually found that I enjoyed running again.  I hadn't run much since high school.  But getting out there last week was fun and I think I will keep running every now and then in the future.

I'll wrap with a point of comparison.  During my FINAL high school cross-country race (All City Championship) in 1991, I ran 3.1 miles in about 22 minutes and 51 seconds (the winners were in the 18 to 19 minute range).   While I didn't complete last week's event like I did when I was 17, I'm still proud of what I did.

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