Archive for Thursday, June 18, 2009

Timed mile might inspire dedication to Bulldog Days

June 18, 2009

Well, it’s mid-June, so time for that “I’m going to get into shape” column for the summer.

Each year around this time, I declare to my readers that I will begin my comeback toward being a competitive runner again. Here in 2009, I can honestly say I’ve taken the biggest step in that direction since my running days at Baker University ended.

It hurts a bit to admit that was five years ago. Yikes! Sadly, I turned 27 just a week ago today. I’m beginning to know why birthdays are no longer fun after 21. The gentle age of 26 was tolerable, but 27 makes me (ahem) clear my throat before saying such a vile number.

To make matters worse, my family thought it would be fun to remind me in three years I turn the big 3-0. Yuck! It’s nice to feel a little young covering high school sports, until summer hits and your age turns up another notch.

Anyway, back to my running comeback … or so it could be. After taking nearly two years off running, I’ve tried to do a little bit each summer. Sadly, it’s only been a little each year.

However, this summer appears to be different. First, I actually ran some mileage this spring on the treadmill. I hate to admit, but the treadmill wasn’t as boring as watching paint dry. That’s what I expected.

Then it came time for Bulldog Days to start up in May. I’ve been attending about three times a week, while trying to work around my job and enjoying my summer. I’ve officially attended 15 times during these first almost five weeks.

While I might not be running the four or five miles I should be if I wish to run competitively again, I can honestly say I am getting stronger and back into good shape. I have noticed my “rather puny” arms achieving some definition, thanks to George McCrary’s obsession with pushups at each Bulldog Days workout.

On Tuesday night, I did find out I’m back in decent shape. Connor Twombly took over Bulldog Days for a week, while McCrary was out of town. Twombly is using the program as her Baldwin High School senior capstone project. She is testing a number of participants on sit-ups, push-ups and the mile run.

I was excited about the mile. I haven’t run a timed mile since college. With no clue of a goal time, I aimed for 5:20. In college, I might have run 4:50 or 4:55 at best. I was a longer distance runner, so a 5:20 at age 27 would be impressive, by my standards.

Needing to run 80 seconds per lap, I knew my goal time was in trouble when I crossed the first lap in 79 seconds. Well I was on pace. Only one problem, I didn’t feel like I could keep that speed up for three more laps.

When it was said and done, I ran a 5:37. I was pleased, considering my lack of training and the warm, muggy weather. I finished third behind Connor Wright (age 18) and Zach Durr (19), so I didn’t feel too shabby.

Now I just have to improve on my time in two months when Twombly tests us again. Maybe that will be my 5:20 I’ve been shooting for.

Before then, I might run a couple 5-kilometer races, including one Saturday morning here in Baldwin City. I will also be a participant in the annual BHS cross country alumni run on July 4. Hopefully, it’s a happy Independence Day for me.

Until then, I hope to see everybody at Bulldog Days. A 30-minute workout at your own pace can be beneficial — even at age 27.

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