Adventures in 5K Land – WFB, Melanoma Run

I like walking 5Ks. I feel like I’m doing good for others while doing good for myself as well. And I get a t-shirt, Bonus! So ever since I walked my first 5k in 2006, I’ve put at least one on my schedule every year, usually in autumn. Some years I’ve done more and started in the middle of summer. Last year I think I maybe walked one.

This year, since spring came early, I started thinking about 5Ks much sooner. I went through a rough emotional period between January and March and kind of quit exercise of any kind, so by April I was feeling sluggish and lousy and decided I needed to get moving again. There was a 5K in my village that I saw lots of advertising for, so I decided a few days ahead of time to sign up for the Saturday walk. A friend of mine also invited me to do a Melanoma Run/Walk the following Sunday, and then join her for margaritas afterward.

Anyway. I walked the first one two weeks ago on a Saturday. I assumed it would be a piece of cake, as I’ve had no problem finishing any 5K in the past (except for that one year when I did two in one day, the second with a group of fun-loving, unmotivated friends, who decided about 1/5 of the way into the disorganized event that it would be much more fun to go to the art museum instead, which I was kind of grateful for because honestly, two in one day is a bit much. And I didn’t really know those people before the walk, but by the time the day was done I considered them pretty special friends. What a memorable day).

Anyway, I digress. So I woke up that Saturday morning full of cocky confidence and went to the village high school to start the 5K … and to my surprise it was incredibly difficult. It was hot, they provided no water — I hadn’t thought I’d need water because I’ve never brought any in the past, but that’s probably because it’s always been provided. When I walked my very first 5K six years ago, I had gotten there just a bit late and started at the very back of the pack, and by the end of the walk I had worked my way to the front. This walk I started near the front, and by the end I was pretty much at the very end of the pack, with maybe six people finishing after me. It was extremely disconcerting to my self-confidence to have done so badly, until I saw my final time (fortunately all participants were timed, which was awesome for me), and I had finished in 18:00, which is exactly what my pace always is. So I guess the people in my village are just fast walkers. Even the ones pushing strollers. Even the very overweight woman who puffed past me. I really felt off my game.

I went home discouraged, but the next morning I tried again. The Melanoma walk was only 3K and it was at the zoo AND my friends were there. I almost didn’t go when I found out that my friends, who are runners, started an hour before my walk did. They’d have been finished 40 minutes before I even started, and I didn’t want to make them wait around for me. But I wanted the t-shirt, so I got myself out the door. 🙂 It was rather disorganized and very, very crowded at the zoo — (it was a ZOO at the zoo! ha ha!) — and there was at least one other unrelated 5K going on at the same time … but I went. I got my shirt, I did my walk, I met my friends, and I had a good time. And surprisingly, that whole weekend, despite being a little bit tired physically, I was incredibly productive.

I figured with getting such a good start to the year doing two walking events in a row, maybe I would see if I could do at least one every weekend through the summer. So I picked up a Badgerland Striders Event Catalog, which is in my opinion about the most comprehensive listing of running events I know. I sat down with the paper and mapped out a bunch of 5Ks that took me through July 12. (I still need to sit down and map out the rest of the summer. It’s just kind of a lot to do all at once, there are so many to investigate!)

Last weekend I could only find one 5K, and it was in Madison. I debated whether to drive that far for a 3-mile walk, but it was held in conjunction with Brat Fest and it sounded like a fun day, so I decided to go. Unfortunately, the morning of the event, half the state was under a big green blob of thunderstorms and rain, and I figured I might drive all the way to Madison only to find it had been cancelled. So at 6am I put the kabosh on my plans and rolled over and went back to sleep. 🙂

I felt lousy that whole weekend. I said so on facebook, and a friend who works at the Racine Art Museum told me that if I walked 5K in my neighborhood, she would bring me a t-shirt and a bag of goodies. So I did. I made my own 3.2 mile route through the neighborhood and walked it on Sunday evening, accompanied by the muted sounds of neighborhood activity and distant thunder.

And it felt good.

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