Finding my Death Star

So over the past few months, I have been in training to run a 5K.  Of course, the big question that comes up with most people who find out is WHY?

Well, with me it is never just a simple answer.  A few months ago, I started noticing that many people I know (including my brother-in-law, friends, and work colleagues) were participating in 5K events.  I’ve always admired those who had the ability and the drive to run long distances.  Why, I remember back in High School during P.E. (Physical Education for those who may not know) of being made to run laps around the track before we played sports or started an activity.  I recall many distinct times of being at the back of the pack or coming in dead-last.  It was never a pleasant feeling…but like so many things in life, it was just one of those things you endure, conquer, and try not to take it personally.  So here we are slowly approaching the 25 year H.S. reunion and subconsciously maybe I am looking to put a feather in my cap and lose some weight to look more fit.  Yea, I know it’s a stereotype to try to make yourself look better in such a short amount of time before a reunion…but it happens.  Guess that’s why it’s such a stereotype.  So for a while I contemplated about whether I would be able to do a 5K.

For me, I think the decision to train boiled down to the simple notion of “I’m in my 40s…but I’m not dead yet! Do I have the strength and willpower to finish a 5K?”.   Mind you, I’ve had no athletic training and my exercise regiments to date has been lackluster to say the least.  But I knew my weight and my diabetes could certainly benefit from the routine exercise that would come from training for a 5K.

Someone told me about the Couch to 5K program (which I was able to find information online and download an app on my iPhone). Put simply, it is an 8-9 week training program geared toward people like myself to gradually work themselves from being a couch potato to running 5 kilometers (or 3.2 miles).  I had some nervous concerns at first but I recently had a doctor’s checkup and everything was good.  I stopped by The Running Center to get an evaluation and recommendation for running shoes…which was probably one of the smartest moves I made (thanks Brenda!).

So, I started the program…and I have to say that to my surprise, it really has worked!  It managed to push me each week but not to the point where I felt like I couldn’t continue.  Now, I am amazed at the distance and time that I am able to cover as opposed to when the program first started.  I am happy to announce that I am in the final week of the program and last night, I was able to complete a 5K run (3.2 miles)!

In about two and a half weeks, I will be participating in the UIS Homecoming Walk/Run 5K.  Of course, this will be my first official 5K event…and I’m excited and nervous about it.  But at this point, I feel pretty confident I will be able to run the whole distance without having to take a break.  🙂  I’m a little bummed that my wife nor my parents will be able to attend for support but it’s not the end of the world for me.

One of the things I did to inspire me during my runs was to create a playlist that I could listen to while I ran.  Spent the better part of an evening going through my own music and researching online to find the best songs I could.  After it was all over, I managed to come up with 53 songs.  It’s nice because I haven’t gotten burnt out on listening to them due to the variety.   I’m sure over time there may be additions to the list but I’m pretty happy with the selections so far.

Power Up! Playlist

  • American Bad Ass – Kid Rock
  • Arise – E.S. Posthumus
  • Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
  • Battle Without Honor or Humanity – Tomoyasu Hotei
  • Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve
  • Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones
  • Blood On Blood – Bon Jovi
  • Bring Me To Life – Evanescence
  • Burning Heart – Survivor
  • Can’t Be Touched – Roy Jones
  • Come Baby Come – K7
  • Cowgirl – Underworld
  • Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
  • Dragula – Rob Zombie
  • Enter Sandman – Metallica
  • Epic – Faith No More
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  • Firestarter – Prodigy
  • Going Under – Evanscence
  • Gonna Fly Now – Bill Conti
  • Headstrong – Trapt
  • Hearts On Fire – John Cafferty
  • I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
  • I Stand Alone – Godsmack
  • I Will Not Bow – Breaking Benjamins
  • It’s Our Fight – Steve Jablonsky
  • Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
  • Let It Rock – Bon Jovi
  • Let’s Get Ready To Rumble – Various Artists
  • Lose Yourself – Eminem
  • Mortal Kombat (Reptile’s Theme) – Skrillex
  • Never Back Down – Linkin Park
  • No Easy Way Out – Robert Tepper
  • One Love – Prodigy
  • One Vision – Queen
  • Only The Young – Journey
  • Party Hard – Andrew W.K.
  • The Power – Snap
  • Reach – Gloria Estefan
  • Remember the Name – Fort Minor
  • Respect the Wind – Eddie Van Halen
  • Rollin – Limp Biskit
  • Running With The Devil – Van Halen
  • Sabatoge – Beastie Boys
  • She’s a Maniac – Michael Sembello
  • Summon the Heroes – John Williams
  • Thunder Struck – AC/DC
  • Till I Collapse – Eminem
  • Tuff Enuff – Fabulous Thunderbirds
  • We Are The Champions – Queen
  • We Will Rock You – Queen
  • Winner Takes It All – Sammy Hagar
  • You’re The Best – Joe Esposito

I’m looking forward to completing the program and competing in my first 5K.  My goal at this point is just to complete the 5K.  I’m not gonna worry about my time or position. To me, it’s always been about…”can I do it?”.  Now that I am drawing to the close of the program, I know I can…but I think it’s going to mean so much more when I cross the finish line!  With any luck, I will have the Rocky Theme playing…throw my arms in the air…and embrace those moments that have inspired me through this whole experience.

“One of the best traits you can ever have…is perseverance!”
~ Marvin Neland

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