I should be able to run a 5K, shouldn’t I???

Komen Race for the CureMy industrious wife formed a team to walk in the Komen Race for the Cure in Houston October 6. The team name is “Komen Get It”….catchy, eh?

Somehow (as usually happens) I got talked (or directed) into participating; not only did I get talked into participating, I am in the competitive run (e-coached by my brother Terry the marathon runner, who is tall and thin and has qualified for and run in the Boston Marathon several times). Running will be fun, since most of my exercise these days is in martial arts class, where you just walk into a sparing match, or stand in one stance for a very long time, plus the occasional vintage rugby game, where I am not usually the youngest participant but I am far and away not the oldest.

I used to run quite a bit as part of my rugby and basketball training, but I cut way back after starting martial arts and after two knee surgeries (including one ACL replacement). The knee surgeries were well done, but to replace my ACL I elected to use part of my hamstring, so that I could continue to have the flexibility in my knee required for martial arts. Last time I checked, the ole hamstring is somewhat important in running, and mine get really hammered after running, either for just jogging or playing rugby.

But I am finding that the slow and balanced movements in TaiChi, where many of the postures are on one leg, are building quite a bit of strength in my quads, calves and hammies. I do a good amount of weight training, but some of the postures in TaiChi make my legs quiver, which tells me they are working hard. And, after almost three months, I can certainly tell the difference.

The first time I went back and played a vintage rugby match, I lived the “mind thinks you can, body tries hard to react” paradigm. Near the beginning of the game I was on the far side of the pitch, playing winger, and there was a breakaway in the scrum. My mind says “you can catch him”, so I took off. I actually did catch him at the goal line (he scored a try anyway) but I wasn’t prepared for that sprint, and had to come of the pitch for a quick breather (which you can do, luckily, in vintage Rugby rules). My son, fifteen at the time, was sitting in the stands with my wife and a bunch of other rugby teammates, says to me “Dad, if you’d only run faster, you’d have caught that guy. Next time try pumping your arms up and down.”

So, taking an enlightened cue from my son, my plan for the Komen Race for the Cure is to “run faster”. I can jog three miles (I do it with the dogs on days my wife doesn’t do her six mile hikes with them), but I’d rather not face the jury of my brother and son if I come in with 12-minute miles. I ran 8 to 8.5 minute miles when I use to run 5 and 10K’s, so while my wife and her friends (and my son and his!) will be walking along, talking about where we are going to go get breakfast tacos and margaritas for the post-race celebration, I’m setting a personal goal of a 8.5-9 minute mile pace.

Given how I just performed this morning with the dogs, I have a lot of work to do in a little more than a month.

If you are in Houston, come on out and join us. Cancer affects us all no matter how much martial arts, rugby or running we do.

Click here to visit my personal page for the Komen-Houston Race for the Cure.

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