The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts

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I ran with Jeremy in the Bartlett Valentine 5k race yesterday and it was a great day for many reasons. In contrast to the deadly tornadoes we experienced earlier this week in Memphis, the weather was perfect - sunny and approximately 50˚F, very warm by Memphis’ standards for February. It was the first time I stood on the start line with a friend. Typically, I’ve always run by myself in the handful of 5k races I’ve previously participated in, but spending the morning with Jeremy prior to the race really helped settle nerves and put me in a positive frame of mind.

I won this race in my age category (Male 30-34) this time last year with a time of 23′30″, so I felt a little pressure to match my performance this year. I felt prepared, endurance-wise, because I had been concentrating almost exclusively on long distance running recently, but, that extra, slower mileage was at the sacrifice of my speed work. So if I had any negative thoughts or doubts in my mind going into this race, it was in relation to how well I could incorporate sprinting into my race tactics despite not training for it.

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My Suburban 5k Shuffle

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I ran my second race this morning, the 11th Annual Bartlett Parks & Recreation Valentine’s Day 5k. I’ve run the 5k distance plenty of times since graduating from the Couch to 5k program, but it seems like a completely different animal when I’m running an honest-to-goodness race.

I was nervous and excited the night before the race, and I had a case of pre-race jitters all morning long, but when I got out on the course I calmed down quite a bit. I kept up a nice steady pace and had just enough juice left at the end to really pick up some speed and charge across the finish line.

I haven’t gotten back my official time yet, but the Nike+ iPod says I ran the race in 31′33″, a pace of just over 10′ per mile, beating my time in my last 5k race by more than 3 minutes! It was an exciting run, a good, solid 5k time, and a great experience.

Update: Official results are in!  My official time was 31′30”, very close to my Nike+ recorded time.  I came in 10th in my age group and 126th overall!  Not bad for a former couch potato, eh?

My Experience with the ‘Couch to 5k’ Plan

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My running life began a short time ago, in the last week of October 2007. I made the decision to begin running in much the same way I’ve made other important, life changing decisions: by buckling to peer pressure. I had just started a new job and made a couple of friends in the office. About that time it seemed that “everyone” in the office was talking about participating in the annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. Not wanting to be left out, I decided that I too would participate in the event and began considering registering for the St. Jude Memphis Grizzlies House 5k. Considering that for the past 10 years of my life I had been, among other things, an avowed couch potato, a heavy drinker, and a heavy smoker, it didn’t exactly follow that I would be a candidate to participate in a foot race of any distance, much less a 5k jaunt in the company of accomplished runners in the dead of winter. Enter my solution, the Couch to 5k running plan.

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