Maybe it’s because of the recent divorce, the recent rib injury, maybe the ownership change at the company I work for, maybe just because I’m getting older. Maybe. Who really knows.
But my perspective on running has changed.
In the past, maybe the recent past, I always believe that a ‘real’ runner would run the entire distance of a race. He (or actually I – if I was a ‘real’ runner) would run the entire 5K or 10K or half marathon or marathon or ultra. The ‘not-so-real-runner’ couldn’t run the entire distance and had to walk some of the distance.
However, recently, I’ve read articles and stories about the ultra and traditional marathoners, 10K and 5K runners who actually run and walk their races. There are mixed percentages in their running and walking. Some run most of the race and walk very little. Others walk more than they run. Yet, they all complete their race.
And, much to my surprise, they are not ashamed of walking. Their stories of personal redemption and achievement and perseverance have tugged at my heart. They have encouraged me to think that participating in a 5K or longer race isn’t necessarily about the continual motion of running but about the forward motion of personal victory, overcoming obstacles, endurance in both body and mind.
Maybe I was a purist in my former thinking. Maybe a purist but not an elite. I wasn’t fast. I had bad form. Never stretched enough or properly. But I was always concerned about my pace and time. I tried to improve. I wanted to improve.
I applaud those younger and older runners who are concerned with time and pace, trying to improve their performance. Actually, I’m jealous of them. I’m jealous of those who can effortlessly run a 7 minute mile and build stamina and strength to run a 6 minute mile.
I wish I was an elite runner. I wish I was like one of those thin guys wearing shorts and a t-shirt lined up at the front of the pack on a cold and windy morning of a 5K. I, however, stand at the back in multiple layers. I was never a contender for an award or even an age group award, unless of course, I was the only runner in my age group.
And, I didn’t want to walk any part of the race.
I looked up the average cut off time for a typical marathon. It’s about 6-1/2 hours. Which translates into a 14:52 per mile pace. Here’s the web page I got my information here.
Last night, on my C25K workout, my pace was 12:54 over the 2.17 mile mile distance. Week 4 Day 2 called for a 3 minute, 4 minute and 5 minute interval run with 3 minutes of walking between each interval. The workout was 28 minutes in length when you include the 5 minutes of walking before the first interval and the 5 minutes of walking after the last interval.
When I think of how enjoyable that run was, even with all the walking, and even with the slow pace I maintained, a 14:52 per mile pace over 26.2 miles seems possible.
In my ‘comeback’ 5K on September 14, 2015, I had to walk. In fact, I walked a lot in that race. I didn’t consider it a true comeback 5K since I had to walk most of the race. But I finished the distance. In fact, there was a small cheering block at the end of the race. Even though I was one of the last runners to cross the finish line, people were still cheering for me. Even though I had to walk, people still cheered me on.
The cheering block cheered everyone on. It just wasn’t for me. I was there alone. However, maybe that race was my comeback race in retrospect. Even with the rib injury and the training interruption I still made the distance, I still gave it an effort. And I walked.
My time for that race was 45:06.6 with a pace of 14:31.
I probably will never qualify for Boston. I don’t believe I could run/walk to a 3:30:00 qualify time for Boston. That is an 8:57 pace. If I train hard maybe I could do it. But probably not. I do however, believe that I could participate in another marathon and cross the finish line in with a pace of 14:52. It would include a mixture of running and walking, but it could be done. It is possible!