I ran a 5K today. Well, to be accurate, I walked a 5K today. I actually finished, too; 47 minutes and 44 seconds. I now have blisters on both my little toes, indicating to me that perhaps walking isn't the sport for me. But I've long been of the opinion that human beings are designed (intelligently or evolutionarily, take your pick) for walking. And judging from my state during the race, I could've walked like that for a very long time.
I finished 56th out of 59 in my division; luckily I wasn't competing. (Besides, they do divisions by age; I want weight divisions to even things up.) I was doing this because my boss forced me.
Not really. She just showed the flyer around the office and asked if anybody else was going. That's her in the picture, incidentally.
So what makes a 280-pound man stand in the rain to get a number and walk more than 3 miles on a wet day? I wanted to see if I could do it. I showed myself that I can. And I got to see some neat technology at work! The "championchip" is a dinky piece of plastic that they tie to your shoes. When you cross over a sensor, it figures out who you are, and from that it can tell you how fast you're going. Or where you've placed. And it can print up a result screen instantly, like this one. I thought it was neat.
Perhaps the more important question is: what makes a 280-pound man run for the finish line? The short answer: pride. By the end of the race, I was feeling like I could keep up the walking pace all day. I wanted to do better than a walking finish. And breaking into a jog at the home stretch, I thought, would look foolish. So I kicked it in just before the last corner.
Not really. I thought it was the last corner, but it was the second-to-last. I wound up running for about a quarter-mile. No biggie; I was a little dizzy at the end, but I made it.
"I entered for $20 and all I got was this t-shirt!" Again, not really. I found that 5K is not a long distance to walk, provided you've got decent shoes (or callouses). I determined that the walk to the other end of the Lockheed-Martin plant where I work is less than the half-mile I've believed for years. And I won respect from myself, my wife and at least one of my children.
In fact, she was impressed enough to run her own race, too. The kids get a much smaller course, naturally. Afterwards, she told me that I took too long, and next time I should run the small race.
I don't think I'll be doing another 5K anytime soon. My feet are different sizes, and finding decent shoes would cost too much. So it's back to the kids' gym for me, where I can get my exercise barefoot. At least now I know it's working. And cartwheels and handstands are a lot more fun.