Saturday, April 21, 2012

Graduation (but not the end!)

I kept wanting to figure out how to title this entry.  I had several different titles come through my head, but honestly today has felt more like Graduation than any day in my life.  I missed out on my High School Graduation as a kid, but in many ways I have many of the same feelings right now that I had right before then.  I've made so many new friends in the past 12 weeks, and I hope that we can continue to help motivate and encourage each other as we start the next legs of our journeys.  It's not the end of my Journey, but it's the end of this 12-week challenge.

And if it's the end of the 12-week challenge, that means it's time for the 5th Annual Eastside YMCA Run 4 Fun 5k!  Today we got a chance to see just how far we've come, weigh in, and put all the effort into one event to launch us into the next stages of our lives.

The day started at 7am when we had to report in early to get weighed in and get our run packets.  I got number 112 and I tallied my final totals for the contest.  While I lost more weight in the final 6 weeks of the challenge, my total body fat % change leveled off at right under 25%.  I am not upset over this total, as it shows that I am in the "normal" range.  Later I found out that I came in 2nd for the contest, which I'm proud of.

At 8am the fun run started, and my two younger kids got to participate.  On the way to the run I ended up giving my middle daughter some advice on how to run for distance, sharing tips that Rob Dempsey had given me as a part of the Rob's Big Losers.  I was so impressed when she took the advice and I saw her chugging along on the track for the fun run, keeping an awesometastic pace.  Being able to be a Dad that gives advice on how to be more active and be able to extend yourself to my daughters was just a complete blessing.  Both of them crossed the finish line strong!

Once the fun run was finished, it was time for the 5k to start.  We got down to the starting area, and I ended up deciding to start near the back with Amber, Lisa and Nina (our wellness coach).  George went up near the front, and we could tell that he was ready for a strong run.

The gunshot went off, and I started at a steady pace trying to make sure I saved something for the return trip.  As we moved out, I slowly started moving up in the pack, going through some of the slower people.  Trying to wade through people was a bit challenging, but in the end it helped me to figure out the strategy on how to get through the race.  What I ended up having to do was pick up the pace in between packs, and then slow down when I reached them until there was a way to get beyond.  It ended up being a lot like interval training, and allowed me to push a little harder and set my goals 1 pack at a time.  We made the first turn, and as I came up to the water station I was disappointed, as my time was over 11 minutes.  Just after the water station we reached the 1 mile mark, and I had a time of 11:55.  Not bad, and definitely a strong first mile.

The second mile went by easier.  At this point the packs were less and less, and I was focusing on catching the people in front of me one at a time.  I had gotten into a rhythm at this point, watching my heart rate as a way to determine my intervals.  I'd let my heart rate come down to approximately 148, and then pick up the pace until I was in the 170's.  Rinse and Repeat.  As we reached the end of the 2nd mile, I noticed that my time had improved, but I really didn't pay much attention to the segment time at this point, I was looking at the people in front of me and setting my sights for who I could catch and when.  By the time I reached the water station on the return trip, I could see Jenna (one of the other big losers) in front of me.  I didn't think I could manage to catch up to her, but I kept going through the intervals and doing my best.

The third mile seemed like it was the easiest and the hardest at the same time.  I ended up catching Jenna before the turn home, and slowed down to run with her some.  I am social in the fact that I like to keep with folks that I know and keep company, especially on rides and runs.  It definitely makes it more "fun" for me than just the pure competition.  Jenna was concerned about getting in under her previous record, which was somewhere in the 34 minute mark.  I just wanted to finish strong at this point.  About this time Rob came jogging up to run with us back in to the finish line.  I started to up my pace, and he kept encouraging me to keep it going, knowing that we were close.  I knew my heartrate strategy at this point would probably be out the window, and I just wanted to keep under my max for the final sprint.  Even before I started the race, I knew that I wanted to put everything I had into the final stretch, and run my heart out to the finish line.  As we turned the final corner, I took off.  I ended up passing a bulk of folks that were trotting in at the end, and just bared down to the finish line.  I crossed the line at full steam, and had to find a way to stop as several folks were stopped in the middle of the corral at the end to turn in their tags.  I got my tags turned in, and got a water and started to cool down.  I ended up being the 2nd of the Big Losers to cross the finish line.

the gentleman right behind me ended up in 3rd place in my age category.
 I was just blessed to finish in under 34 minutes!
After finishing I went back up to see if I could find George and then look for the rest of the GHS folks.  After a bit Terra came through, and we ran for a bit with her down the last tenth of a mile, and I went back up again.  Lisa and Nina came up a little while later, and I went up to meet them and run the last 1/4 of a mile with them back in.  After that I stayed at the end and didn't try to go back up, as I started to really feel sore!  I did some stretches, and I got a snack to help refuel, and I rested.

Later on I found out that George got 3rd place in his division.  There were several other Big Losers that won medals, and even though I'm sure that I finished ahead of the guy that won the 3rd place for my division, I realized the medal wasn't the important thing for me today.  Last year if I had attempted anything of this level, I would have walked it at best (if I could have completed it at all).  Today I ran a 5k and finished in under 34 minutes!  Regardless of anything else, the biggest thing I could have won today was the confidence to go out and put in that level of effort, and the Ability to be a witness to the Love and Power of Jesus when you trust him with everything, including your wellness.

At the end of the day all of the other Rob's Big Losers were the biggest winners for what we had done together.  I hope that we can continue to encourage and inspire each other, and maybe even convince each other to show up to events and keep in touch.  It's been a complete blessing for me on this Journey, and I look forward to being able to give back to help inspire even more folks to take the first step and see where God really and truly wants to take you!

 I've uploaded all of my pictures from the day to Picasa.  Check them out!

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