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.