My employers, Mitch and Teresa Silver, were moved by a 60 Minutes special on homeless children in Seminole County two years ago, and committed themselves to help by starting the FIT 5k. The inaugural event was held at the Winter Springs Town Center before I joined the Firm, and this year’s race was moved to Altamonte Springs where I made my debut as a 5k runner.
It was, for the record, my goal to run 5k. I increased my weekend elliptical work from 30 to 45 minutes, continued playing basketball, mixed in a rigorous futsal session and prepared for 30 minutes of discomfort. The basketball scheduling Gods undermined my efforts with games on Thursday and Friday night before the race, and I made matters worse by eating 8-10 slices of pizza over the course of two meals Friday.
I rose early Saturday morning in competitive spirits and felt good during a light jog from my car to the starting line. Confidence swelled as most of the people I saw on the way did not appear to be natural runners, and I placed my starting position in the first third of the field. Thoughts of a surprisingly impressive finish to flight in my mind.
The race started at 7:31 am, and I found what I thought was a modest and sustainable pace while the field spread out. I found a female runner to pace myself, but within two hundred yards she started walking leaving me adrift. I saw a friendly guy I spoke with on the way to the race a few hundred yards ahead, and thought if I could get closer, I could adapt to his pace.
Things began to deteriorate as I could not close ground on the friendly guy, felt increasing pain in my right foot and encountered….the one mile mark. Crap….I gotta do this two more times. Several runners that I had passed when they decided to walk now caught and passed me. I began to fight myself to keep running or to walk briefly. At the 1.5 mile mark, I gave in and began to walk which somehow increased the pain in my feet and lower legs. It seemed possible that I may not be able to resume running. More out of curiosity than competitive drive, I started to run. It would last for a few hundred yards before I was a pedestrian.
I grabbed a cup of water from a course marshal and resumed running, but walked again. A wave of shamed disappointment prevented me from makong eye contact with the next court marshal I encountered. My walk became a trudge on a long up hill. We entered a parking lot on the back side of Crane’s Roost and I picked up the pace for a decent stretch.
I reached strategic survival mode with a brief, deliberate walk just before leaving the parking lot and re-entering the roadway. I followed with a strong run aided by seeing back markers walking up hill in the opposite direction. Near the bottom of the hill, I was cheered on by Teresa Silver. As I turned back on to the mall property, I slowed to a walk in anticipation of my push to the finish.
I went all in when I reached the cobblestones of Crane’s Roost park and sprinted the last quarter mile to the line.
33:00 on the dot.