By Cheri Felix
I’m in Utah somewhere in between nowhere and somewhere. I was sitting at the only coffee shop for miles (that resides in someone’s house) when a climber asked me “Are you a runner?” I paused and said “Yes.” For some reason I felt the need to add that I usually self identify as a mountain biker, but yes, I am a runner too. It was my Hokas that gave it away. That and probably the shorts and the socks. The whole combination. I share this tale as an example that we all feel a little out of place sometimes. We all feel like we don’t quite fit or belong or know what we are doing. So this week I will offer my very novice advice for preparing for the Dash & Dine 5k Run Series.
5k is the Euro way of saying 3.1 miles, and most of us can get through 3.1 miles. Even with some walking or slow swaying or crawling. One thing you should know is that (in my experience) running with a bunch of people makes it go faster. You will probably run faster in an organized run.
What should you do to prepare?
Well, if you’re like me, practice running for 3.1 without stopping or only stopping at mile intervals. If you’re new to running or out of shape like most normal human beings in March, walk at the 1/2 mile mark. For me, it means NOT stopping to take pictures I can post later on social media. Do not worry about timing yourself. Just run. ADVICE: The first mile kind of sucks for most of us. It’s like cleaning the kitchen or cleaning out your car or going through your kid’s room; it’s hard to start but after a bit, something clicks. I am not promising hearts, flowers and unicorns but it will get better.
You can also do the run/walk or walk/run thing. Lots of really smart people recommend that strategy as a training tool. Another of the my favorite strategies just in case you are busy working, taking care of the kids, keeping the boss happy, trying not to stress about if you have enough in savings or just have a busy life, is to just show up. Show up and run and watch the magic unfold. If you tried this strategy with the SAT’s, don’t worry. This will be better.
In the 5k, pace yourself.
On that first mile you may want to go out fast but resist that temptation. Make it your goal to make each mile a bit faster. Even if it’s by 5 seconds. If you go out too fast it’s akin to saying yes to a blind date you haven’t googled; you may get in over your head real fast. The last part (where you can smell the finish) is downhill. Running downhill is still running. Save some for that last part and try to surge a bit or just finish with (or without) dignity.
The Dash & Dine 5k Run Series is a training tool for the Bolder Boulder but it’s also an opportunity to push yourself in an inclusive setting. I will never be the fastest woman out there, but I will be out there. I can’t let fear of being last or in the middle hold me back. And neither should you. And remember, you are what you say you are. If you call yourself a runner, you’re a runner. No need to add words like “just” or “only”. Come out for the first Dash & Dine 5k Run Series on Tuesday, April 11. We’ll be having fun. One way or another.
See you soon!
[Editor’s notes: Stopping to take pictures for your social feed is a perfectly acceptable reason to stop, walk and take in the views during your run. There are special random awards planned for the real runners in the pack that may finish in say, in 45th place.]