So today I did something I’ve never done before and it felt pretty good. I achieved a goal I’ve been chasing for a time. In March of 2020 I went to Mardi Gras, sure we’d been hearing about COVID 19 but it was in Europe and like SARS and MERS there was a pretty good chance it seemed it might be another primarily Asian epidemic. Shortly after returning from another amazing time in New Orleans COVID got real, real fast. A week or so later, we were closing campus, moving most classes online, suspending others, a week later we were working from home and are scheduled to return for the first time August 2nd, almost 18 months lataer.
Given the reality of things the gym was not a safe place to work out. I got a small bench and some dumbbells over time and was able to figure out my weight work, however my concern was with cardio. As someone who has high blood pressure, keeping my cardiovascular fitness is really important to keeping my blood pressure in check. So really there were two options, start jumping rope, which is really an excellent option but one I never seem to get into, or starting to run. I really hate to run, I mean really hate it. As I’ve said for years, I only run if there’s a ball in front of me or a dog behind me. But, given the options, I started in April of 2020 running the track at school. Man, that first night was incredible, I ran a very slow quarter mile on the track, walked a quarter then ran a second. The next day I was amazingly sore, it was a surprise, I typically walk 3-6 miles with no problem, but just this small bit of running beat me up bad.
I progressed over time but then we had to close the track at school down due to COVID. So I ended up finding a park to run in and kept working on it. I eventually even ran 2.4 miles one morning. My goal had been to run an Easter Bunny 5K but that race was cancelled and my motivation for running has flagged from time to time with no clear goal ahead. So a couple of months ago I set two goals, first to hit my goal weight of 175 by my birthday at the end of August, and to run a 5K by Thanksgiving. After my vacation I’ve been slow getting back to my weight loss goals, but I’ve re-entered the gym and the track at school has re-opened so I’ve been running regularly again (2 days a week) and even doing short runs on others day at the gym on the treadmill.
So this weekend I decided to tag a couple of things on my bucket list, the first was to see a great white shark and the second was to try and actually run a 5k for the first time. The shark trip was unfortunately a bust on the shark front, it was a little too cold for the white sharks to be at the surface. But it was a beautiful day on Monterey Bay, we saw a mother and calf set of Humpback Whales really close up and I did get a bucket list animal, I finally saw a sunfish, also called a Mola Mola up close. Didn’t have a chance for a good photo but got to see this giant about 7 feet away from me.
It was a really exciting encounter, I’d been a boat when one was spotted before but all I caught was a fin tip as it disappeared. This time I got to see it right at the surface, dive down a few feet and come back to the surface all on it’s side, only to tip back vertical and dive out of sight. In addition the tour company gave us vouchers for a free trip since things hadn’t panned out well. So a pretty awesome day all in all, as well as getting a slight sunburn while wearing SPF 50, once again proving I’m the second whitest man in America.
So after such a great Friday I was geared up to attempt my 5K on Saturday but I woke up Saturday and decided nope, lazy day, so I read, binged a bit of Killing Even and was basically lazy all day. So today was the day, I got up, ate a piece of coffee cake I’ve been saving, some eggs and a couple of hours later made my attempt.
My standard run right now is 6 laps, a mile and a half but I’m about to tick up to a mile and three-quarters. So today I was heading for 13 laps in order to get the 3.25 miles which is a 5K. Hitting lap seven I felt ok, ten laps would be 2.5 miles and the longest I’ve ever run. Around lap 9 I started to flag a bit and started thinking ten laps would still be a personal best and would be ok. Then my savior showed up, he was about 18 months old, an adorable little dude learning to ride his scooter. As I was doing lap 9 he got really excited to wave and say hi as I went by, it made my day. So we became running buddies, each lap as I came by he would say hi and wave excitedly, I would ask him if he wanted to race, he’d giggle and say no and the next lap we’d do it all over again. It was a nice pickup in my mood on each lap and he helped me hit my goal.
So I did my 5K, at the speed of an 80 year-old with a limp but I did it. My hope is to run one each month and even to do an official 5K race at some point. I grew up with a guy named Buddy, we been friends since little league and Bud runs the Turkey Trot 5K every year on Thanksgiving and I’ve always admired him for that, so I might just have to adopt his tradition.
Here’s a picture of me right after I finished and a minute before I grabbed my water bottle and laid naked in the periwinkle like a dork with the sun upon my nose. Ok, I kept my clothes on and it was grass, it was campus after all and I didn’t want to get arrested and fired.
The point tonight, beyond selfishly celebrating my achievement, is to remind you that you do need goals. Even little successes make you happier so you need to celebrate them. The bigger and more important point is that you should always try to get better. No matter your age or circumstances you can always get better, it just takes the will to do it. So take a deep breath, find the motivation and a way to reward yourself and go for it, get better and have happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane