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Posts Tagged ‘First 5K’

Baby’s First 5K

#110 and #144 prior to the start of the 2011 Jingle Bell 5K.

Welcome to Adventure Foot!  I’m not quite ready for my new blog’s grand debut yet, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to wait to post some new content.  The Annual Jingle Bell 5K Run for the Arthritis Foundation was held Saturday, December 3rd at the Quincy Mall.  The usual running suspects of Quincy showed up despite the cold and rainy weather, but if you looked closely at the crowd, you saw a few new faces too. My friend Mary Poletti came dressed to the nines in her Christmas gear to take part in the 5K walk.  It was her first such event, and I was really proud of her for coming out to give this event a try.  

Another new face in the crowd was my dear friend Doug Burdic.  He’s decided to guest blog and tell you the story himself.  I’m extremely happy he decided to join me for this run and also very proud of him for a strong showing.  I won’t gush about it (because he’d hate that) but I know that he’s got what it takes to be a very good runner and that this is only the beginning of him following his foot out the door for adventure.  I just hope he remembers me when he gets so fast that I can’t keep up with him anymore.

-Laura Sievert

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Baby’s First 5K

By Doug Burdic

First, full disclosure:  I smoked fairly heavily for ten years until my lung collapsed of its own volition in early May, presumably from the sheer weight of the tar, or maybe just because it was tired of being picked on.  After a stint in lovely room 5420 at Blessing (overrated as vacation spots go), I decided it was time to think about exercising.  And think I did.  Thinking about it wasn’t exactly the same as doing it, but it felt good to at least know it was on my mind.  For six months I thought about it.

So when Laura texted me to see if I wanted to run a 5K in December, I replied, “OK.”

Then, out loud, to an empty room, I said, “Oops.”

And so it came to be that on a freezing December morning, I found myself behind the mall with a decidedly upbeat crew of people who were used to this sort of thing.  I was, of course, completely unprepared.  My training regimen had consisted of a couple tries at two-mile runs and not drinking as much beer that week.  I had my awesome K-Swiss tennis shoes on, which are about four years old.  They had custom ventilation (read: holes) and would be consigned to lawn-mowing duty when spring came.

Doug Burdic, Laura, Ali Berti, Brenda Turnbaugh and Jeff Spencer after the Jingle Bell Run.

The weather was just lovely. I noted that perfect Bermuda triangle of rain, mist and possibly my own tears as we prepared to begin what was sure to be…something.  People did jumping jacks to get loose.  I did three, which seemed sufficient.  And the gun went off.

I was joined by Laura and her friend Jeff, who’d done 13 miles already that morning and looked like he could get another baker’s dozen in before lunch.  After a strong start (maybe made it out of the parking lot) I faded.  Everything below my knees hurt.  Most of the things above my knees hurt.  We ran through the Avenue of Lights in Moorman Park, which was kind of nice and mostly flat.  We mostly chatted throughout, though once in a while, Laura would pick a spot to run to and I would respond with a profanity.  Things were going fairly well, really.  No torn ACLs.  No CPR.  I was both emboldened and too worn out to do anything about it.

The last interminable mile, Laura and Jeff waxed poetic amongst themselves about something as I scouted out good spots to vomit along Columbus Road for when the opportunity inevitably presented itself.  Then the finish line came into view back at the mall and I figured if I hadn’t collapsed yet, now wasn’t the time.  I crossed the line in 36 minutes and change.  People seemed excited.  I was too tired to be proud.

I should’ve learned something from the experience, and I suppose I learned that it wouldn’t kill me to do more of this stuff.  So if they keep giving me a T-shirt, I’ll keep running in their races.

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Angie Frese, left, completes the 5K with her hands held high. Laura Sievert and her husband Justin at the finish line.

It was probably the combination of the cannon blast that started the race, the QHS Marching Band’s drumline beating a cadence, the bagpiper playing along the side of the route, and the cold, steady rain falling from the gray sky, but as I charged up the Hampshire Street Hill with a battalion of nearly 3000 other runners of the Bridge the Gap to Health Race, I felt as if we were going to war.

Completing my first 5K at Bridge the Gap was a challenge that I’d set for myself six short weeks ago. For many runners, 5K (3.2 miles) isn’t very far, but for me, it would be a mental test as much as a physical one.  I never liked to run, and the many years of not liking to run had cemented themselves into a mental barrier that told me that I couldn’t run.  So that was my battle: knock down the “Great Wall of Can’t.”

I wouldn’t say that I got off to an amazing start. Once the dreamy feeling of charging the hill was past me, I turned the corner and promptly stuck my left shoe in a deep puddle of water. Fantastic. Then, not 100 yards onto the Memorial Bridge, a faster runner tripped someone who, in turn, tripped me, and I sort of bounced into the side barrier in an ungainly manner. I was embarrassed, red-faced, wet-socked, and already winded. Quitting didn’t seem far behind.

I credit the British Invasion with saving my run.

Just as I was asking myself why I’d come out in this awful weather to do something I didn’t enjoy, my iPod brought up the song, “I Can See for Miles,” by The Who. The song made me look up and I realized that I could see for miles and miles and miles, and it was really cool to be where I was. I was running across the Mighty Mississippi River, and I wasn’t the only one in this group who thought it was tough. Things that are worth doing are always tough. The wind was whipping and the rain was falling, but I could finish this. I just knew it.

The Who and then Queen carried me across the first bridge in no time. (The Queen song, if you’re curious, was “Bicycle Race.” A friend thought it would be ironic if I put songs on my playlist about driving or biking.  I also included “Drive My Car” by the Beatles.) The wind really picked up when I turned the corner in West Quincy.  I was slowing down considerably on the Bayview Bridge, so I picked points out in front of myself that I knew I could make it to, and broke the run into pieces.  If I had to walk, I only walked to the next lamppost, then I ran to the next.  The course volunteers clapped as we ran past, and their support really made me smile and put a spring in my step.

Sievert and Freese pose before the race with Olympian Jackie Joyner Kersee.

It wasn’t long before I was back on Illinois soil headed down the hill to Bonasinga Drive with the finish line in sight. The song “Sweet Inspiration” by the Derek Trucks Band, propelled me toward the end of the race.  I was smiling ear-to-ear and raising a fist in the air as I crossed the line. Jackie Joyner Kersee, eight-time Olympic Medalist and Sports Illustrated’s Greatest Female Athlete of the Century, placed a medal around my neck, and I jumped up and down, giddy with the thrill of crossing the line. My husband, who also ran the race, was waiting at the line and we shared a victory hug.  My friends Angie and Sara crossed the finish not far behind me, and the atmosphere was just electric.

My finishing time was 37:44. The time put me a little more than half-way down the list of finishers, but I wasn’t really trying to beat anyone or anything except my own expectations. My friend Jeremy talks about “a runner’s high.”  It’s when you forget about how hard it was to get to the finish line, and just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.  I don’t think I’ve turned into a great lover of running from this experience, but I did feel wonderful about accomplishing something I didn’t know I could do, and I got a small taste of that runner’s high. I’d encourage everyone to give Bridge the Gap or another run a try.  It was something I’ll certainly never forget.  I’m already looking forward to next year, where I’ll be charging along with my fellow warriors past the ruins of the Great Wall of Can’t.

Original Post May 17, 2011

Here’s the post that proceeded this one- when I decided to run for the first time.

Deep Breath… Ok, I’ll Do It.

People who know me know I love to be active. I don’t blink twice when someone suggests we go hike 10 miles, bike all over town, or climb an active volcano.  But running? Running is a different story.  I’ve never been quick, and I’ve never found my “groove” enough to keep a good pace up over long distances.  However, in the spirit of setting goals and achieving something I can be proud of, I’ve decided to run the 5k in this year’s Bridge the Gap to Health Race on May 14th.  Once I made the decision, I put out the word, and quickly a half dozen friends and my husband were on board too.

And we’ve all got good reason to be excited! The event itself is beautiful. The courses cross both bridges over the mighty Mississippi, and it’s not every day you have the chance to take a jog with a view like that.  It’s a great opportunity to get in shape, achieve a goal, and help people all at once.

Bridge the Gap to Health is now in its 11th year in Quincy.  The event consists of 5K (3.1 miles), 10K (6.2 miles), and half marathon (13.1 miles) certified courses, a 5K walk (with competitive or leisure categories) and a walking half marathon. The event draws over 2,500 participants, making it one of the premiere runs in Illinois.

The best part of Bridge the Gap is how much it helps our community.  All of the registration fees and proceeds from the event benefit the Quincy Catholic Charities MedAssist Program.  According to their website, MedAssist has helped over 3000 patients obtain around 30,000 prescription medications at a value of over $8 million in the last eleven years.   That money all stays local and helps Quincy area families (regardless of their religion).

If you’re not ready to commit to the run but still would like to experience the event, there are ample opportunities to volunteer. The race requires course guides, people to distribute water to runners, safety volunteers and much more.  If you’re interested in volunteering for the race, email btg@quincymedgroup.com for more information.So here’s my challenge to you, Quincy. Get out and run (or walk) with me.  We’ve got a month and a half to get ready, and the pride we’ll have from completing a challenge, helping needy folks get assistance to afford their prescription medication, and from our healthier hearts is immeasurable. I know we can do this!

To register for the Bridge The Gap to Health Race or for more information, visit http://www.bridgethegaptohealth.com They’re also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BridgeTheGapToHealth All donations to the QCC MedAssist program are tax-deductible.  Visit the Quincy Medical Group website to find sponsor information, past winners, training tips, photos and much more: http://www.quincymedgroup.com/bridgethegap/index.html

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