Shaping Up for Preparedness: Using 5K Races

Shaping up for preparedness:  Using 5K Races

By MsKYprepper, Editor-At-Large

I’m fat.   

But I was fatter.  Bug out ? – yea right, I doubt I could have walked one mile with a bug out bag. Bug in – OK, but I’m not sure I could haul water from the basement to the living quarters.  I’m still not where I want to be with my weight, endurance and mental toughness, but I’m getting better each week.  Check this out: 

March – purchased a garage-sale treadmill.  15 minutes at 2MPH was the best I could do on my first walk. Went shopping for new tennis shoes.  Shopping is fun!

April – I walked (scratch that, I strolled) my first public 5K walk/run race.  That’s a little over 3 miles.  My goal was to finish and I did but I came in last – and I do mean dead last.  They had already torn down the finish line by the time I got there. I soaked in the tub for an hour when I got home and went to bed two hours earlier than normal. 

There was a sign at the half-way mark that I will never forget. It said:

Did-not-win is still better than did-not-finish.

Did-not-finish is still better than did-not-show-up.

You’re already a winner.

May – Put myself on a self-directed program of walking in preparation for the next 5K.  I got online and found all of the 5Ks in my area and scheduled myself for a race every-other month.  Found a walking partner to train/practice/play with.  She was a big help in getting my butt on the treadmill regularly. My motto became, “if I’m watching TV, I’m doing it from the treadmill.”

June 5K – My goal was only NOT to be in last place.  I averaged 20-minute miles so the whole thing took about one hour.  New mothers pushing baby strollers whizzed past me early on the course but I finished 100 from last. I got to experience the finish line, the announcers over the P.A. and the loud music.  What a rush!  I had enough energy remaining, I went back to walk with the last-place girl. I could tell she was struggling and I wanted to support her.  It made me feel strong.

August 5K – My goal was to carry a 20 lb backpack.  I filled it with small water bottles and shared water towards the end.  It’s hot in August in KY and it was more of an endurance test in discomfort than anything else. It was a large race with a mob of 5,000 participants.  It was at night but it was still 98-degrees and 98 percent humidity. Night put a whole new perspective on things, I started to think about what it would really be like to bug out at night.  This freaked me out. It seemed so real being around so many strangers, at night, and carrying the backpack.  I really scared myself.  Must work on mental discipline.  Finished 400 from last but moms pushing strollers still past me. Dang it!

I couldn’t find a good race for October so my next is September 23.  Close enough. Most 5Ks have courses on level pavement.  This one is through the woods, in the mud, and with obstacles.  It’s shear physical punishment and mental toughness. As it turns out, this is very popular with the extreme sports people.   It’s not a Tough Mudder, (look for YouTube videos if you are not familiar) it’s more of a mini-muddy for fat, middle aged women but it will push me a little further outside of my comfort zone.  Ahhh, over the hills and thru the mud – I think my goal is back to “just finish.”  Wish me luck!

For me, the concept of using the 5K was motivation to train with a goal date attached.  In my area there is a 5K almost every weekend.   Committing to completing a set of 5Ks put me in a position of thinking, and strategizing how I want to change my training to improve for the next one – something that I hope will have lasting overall general health benefits.  I have a new set of “friends” now, the perennials near my walking speed, that I nod and smile to.  People with familiar faces that I can walk up to and say, “How did you do?”  or “Which race are you doing next?”  It’s nice to have peeps to inspire each other to keep going when the finish line feels too far away. 

If getting into shape is part of your preparedness plan then lace up the Nike’s and get out there.  Most cost between $20 and $50 to enter.  Most are fund-raisers for good causes.  You usually get a T-Shirt.  You could get muddy. You will feel good about doing it. Yes, there are the hard-core racers, running for a trophy but never mind them.  Toward the rear of the crowd – where you’ll find me – you’ll find comfort in a large group of middle-aged, recovering couch-potatoes doing something fun and healthy.  Just show up and you’re a winner.

See ya at the finish line.

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