Hello, friends. It's been a little while since my last post. I've had an interesting few weeks here in Texas. When I last wrote, I was slowly making my way through week 7 while experiencing some discomfort in my groin area during and after my runs. I took to resting a few extra days between runs to see if the discomfort would ease. I was able to successfully complete W7R2, but was still experiencing pain during and after the run. So, I rested several days before attempting the final run of week 7. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon when I started the run, but I'm sorry to say that I was only able to run about 1/2 of the 25 minute time because the pain in my groin grew from minor discomfort to searing pain. I thought it would be best to admit defeat and rest my groin longer. Further, I decided I wouldn't attempt to run for at least another 7 days. Better to be safe than sorry, I thought.
During the next week, I experienced some pretty significant intestinal problems and ended up in the Emergency Room one afternoon. The doctor prescribed a heavy dose of antibiotics. Because I didn't feel well, I wasn't eating much and my energy level was almost nonexistent. About a year ago, I was hospitalized for more than 3 weeks with a major bacterial infection. I feared this latest episode was the beginning of a repeat of last year. I was pretty bummed out, weak as ever, and in no condition to run 1 minute, let alone the 25 minutes of W7R3. So my 1 week hiatus grew to nearly 2 weeks.
During my 2 week "vacation" from running, I worried about losing the momentum that I'd built up during the first 6+ weeks of the C25K program. I was also concerned that I would not be able to reach my personal goal at the end of October. Several months ago, I'd made a commitment to myself to run in a charity 5k that benefits an organization my best friend leads. His dear children are afflicted with a rare genetic disease and a few years ago he lost his only son to the disease. Each year, I support my friend by donating to his charity and by attending his annual 5k run. Every year before, I simply walked the course (or part of it) because I was in no shape to run it. This year, I committed to running the entire 5k. It was that goal that led me to begin the C25K program. When I started the program, I checked the calendar and determined that I could finish the 9 week program just prior to the 5K run. However, the extra days of rest my groin required and the time off the past 2 weeks really derailed my plans. I began to accept the fact that I would likely not be able to run the entire 5K. After all, when I last ran, I could barely cover 2 miles and 25 minutes. My goal of running the 5K at the end of October seemed out of reach.
My friend's 5K run was this past Saturday morning. I encouraged my wife and 3 sons to attend the run with me. My oldest son, a 16 year old athletic football player, told me he'd run the 5K in my place since I was in no condition to do so. I told my family that I was going to attempt to run at least part of the 5K, but I doubted I could make it to the 1/2 point and planned to walk whatever portion that I could not run. It was a very cool morning and I left the house in sweat pants and a hooded sweatshirt (not exactly the gear I'd been used to running in), along with my running shoes. I stretched prior to the start of the race and felt a twinge in my groin while doing so. I declined to be timed or to wear an official race number since I figured I would not complete the race. But, I still had the Nike Plus sensor, so I knew I could track my progress without the race timer.
When the horn sounded, I started off with a light jog and my oldest son running beside me. My middle son soon passed me in a dead sprint. My youngest son and my wife were walking behind me. I didn't like running in sweat pants and a hoodie, but I made my way to the 1/2 mile marker and a cold cup of water. I was experiencing some tightness in my groin, but it was not unbearable and soon abated. The course was not very flat and I found the "hills and valleys" to be challenging, to say the least. My middle son passed me going the other way before I made it to the turnaround point at the 1/2 way mark, though. I was clearly not making good time, but I was running and not stopping. And, it felt good to do so. I slowly made my way to the 1/2 way point and another cup of water. My oldest son would walk a while and then run up next to me occasionally with words of encouragement. At some point, I realized I had been running longer than my longest time of 25 minutes. I concentrated on my form and began to believe that I may just finish the entire 5K run. Soon, I was rounding the corner for the last mile of the course. There was one last hill, though, and it was brutal going up it at the end of the run. With about a quarter mile to go, my son looked at my phone and told me that if I picked up the pace a bit, I could finish the 5K in less than 40 minutes. He seemed to think that was pretty special. Me, I was just happy that I may actually finish the darn thing without dying.
I crossed the finish line with very little left in my tank. I'd covered more than 5K (3.2 miles, actually) in 39.49 minutes. I was overcome with emotion. Two weeks prior, I could barely run 25 minutes and I'd just finished a 5K after 2 weeks of illness and all. I can't explain how I accomplished that feat. No doubt angels were watching over me and my son's encouragement was a source of inspiration. My wife was none too happy with me, but she told me she wasn't surprised that I did it since I was a stubborn donkey (my words, not hers)!
Last night, I finished W7R3 and am preparing to get back on track. I will finish the C25K program as intended. This was just a very unexpected, but happy detour in my journey to being a proper runner.