So today I participated (with the lovely Sara Lee) in my first 5k walk, the Run like and Animal Lake Superior Zoo 5k. I had previously done a 5k walk for the cure, but since that was in my 20s I’m not going to count it. The walk was fun, and I went faster than I had thought I could go (and faster than I had been before according to my Nike+ App on my phone). There were many folks actually dressed up for the occasion. Several reptiles, a turtle, a number of birds and bunnies, a horse and a few bears. Most costumes were just a hat and a shirt, but some were fairly elaborate. I wore my Baylor Bears t-shirt and hat, with the bear face on it, to get into the spirit. The walkers got to start first, and we started off through the Lake Superior Zoo. I had never before been to the zoo. From the look of it (and later from reading) it is an old zoo with a lot of character. The route wound us past a lot of the animal exhibits. The best was the Lynx who what very excited to see so many people quickly moving past his cage. He was jumping around, I can only assume, in the hopes that someone would stop and pet him behind the ears. The other animal that made a big impression was the brown bear, who was standing at the edge of his enclosure just along the walkway watching everyone pass by. It was impressive to see just how large that bear was, in comparison to the black bears we more often see. The timber wolves were also out and watching the funny runners go by. So the route to us through the zoo and around Kingsbury Creek (where the damages from the big flood last year are still evident). We circled out and back on a trail which led us eventually back into the zoo.
This was our first mile. I was pretty proud of the fact that I made it 1.24 miles before I got passed by the first runner. Subsequently, all the runners passed us, but since I wasn’t running I was generally OK with it. The course took us up the hill and out of the zoo, and back onto the trails behind the zoo (part of which is the Superior Hiking Trail). The hill on the trail was a bit tough, but not really any tougher than the ones I walk nearly every day in my neighborhood. Sara had a bit of a sock issue so we stopped a couple of times for sock readjustments, but blisters still ensued (for her, magically I remained blister free, despite picking my socks for awesomeness instead of utility). Once the initial hills were done the rest of the course was relatively smooth sailing. As we neared the finish there was a man with a bullhorn shouting encouraging words. I finished in 53:49 minutes after coving a distance of 2.86 miles (an average pace of 18.46 min/mile). One weird thing, a 5k is supposed to be 3.11 miles so either my phone was off or the track was a bit short, but given the amount of tree cover during the trail portion of the race, I’m going to go with phone being off. This technically means I covered more ground in the same amount of time, 17.25 min/mile, which is faster than the fastest mile I’ve ever done and I did over an average for 3 miles (woo hoo). After the race we stuck around for a bit to see if we won any of the raffle prizes (which we didn’t), which I was OK with, as usually when it comes to winning I tend to be the guy who wins the medium t-shirt. To top it off Sara and I went to the Duluth Grill for some breakfast (including for her, beet lemonade). I got corned beef hash with eggs and French toast and it was delicious. Now that I’ve done my first 5k I’m ready for more. I don’t know when they will be, but likely soon. I’m still in the walking phase but once I’ve lost a few more (aka 50) pound I’m going to start giving some jogging a try. After 40 miles in June, July brought 55 miles (making me even for the year à averaging one mile per day) and my goal for August is 60 miles. That mean every day an average of two miles, but it turns out it is quite feasible. Although I think if I would have asked myself last summer or even last winter I would have probably given you a different answer. I’m starting to feel like I’m in shape. Which particular shape is a matter of some debate. I am currently feel I am best described as a barrel with legs, but at least that barrel can now move quite a bit better than it could even two months ago. Cheers everybody.