Yesterday I ran in a 5k at Sertoma Park. This was put on by a Parkinson's organization and I found out about it because my employer's fitness program was offering extra points for participating. It seemed like a good challenge so I signed up.
I did not do any prepping except for my walking at work, where most days I go on a brisk walk for my two 15 minute breaks. Typically this is along the walking trail that runs past the office but I really like to cross over to one of two residential roads that are just a short ways away, as that way 2/3 of the walk can be enjoyed without the constant traffic of Old Red Trail. There are some steep hills on those roads too, so if I keep my pace up I can get the heartrate up briefly.
The day of the race was 40F and windy, but thankfully the rain held off and everything was dry. I shivered at the starting line for a few seconds after throwing my jacket in the car and then the mass of people took off. Not knowing what a reasonable pace would be, I stayed towards the back in my #8 sign to see what others do. A few hundred yards in my feet were pounding heavily and my joints and muscles hadn't yet warmed up. Still I was pretty sure that this pace was too slow so I passed a few groups. At about the 3/4 mile mark I switched from a full in/out breath cycle every eight steps to every four steps. And then I was excited to have made it to the mile mark without walking! Might as well go for two.
In the second mile, my seemed to improve a little as my feet stopped clonking so heavily. I couldn't remember the last time I had run some distance other than sprinting around on a beach or sandbar, so I had no muscle memory of efficient movements for that pace. I kept from becoming too winded by consciously slowing my pace on occasion. Of course it would soon creep back up again. On the third mile I was definitely feeling the exhaustion but not in any painful ways so I pushed myself to run the remaining way--no walking. And I made it across the finish line in 31:17, 29th place out of 44. Pretty good for a 210 pound guy with no prep other than a reasonably active lifestyle. The top event time was 20:30.
Today, the next day, my knees are complaining a little bit. My calf muscles were tight yesterday, which is a typical problem for me. Otherwise, I'm doing fine and I really enjoyed the challenge and finding out what I am still capable of.