Rudy's Firkin Fest 5K

Today I joined my dad in running his first ever 5K race!  My dad's "comfort zone" workout style is indoors on the treadmill or stationary bike, multitasking with reading or checking email as he exercises (in fact he's probably on the treadmill reading this right now!), followed by strength training.  It was definitely a big step for him to sign up for and complete a race, and he kicked butt!  I'm so proud of him, and of everyone who completes a race for the first time, for stepping outside of the routine and trying something new and challenging.  My dad probably doesn't consider himself a runner, but today he ran a 5K and can now give himself that title!

I also want to take this opportunity to give a shout out to all the members of my family who completed (or will complete) races this year.  My brother ran a 5K on St. Patrick's Day with his girlfriend (along with my sister), my sister ran her first full marathon last month, my husband did a sprint triathlon today and a 100 mile bike race last month, and my mom is training for her second triathlon!

If everyone took the initiative to prevent heart disease and illness by eliminating risk factors and keeping their bodies healthy, the world would be a better place.  I believe that if everyone trained for and ran 5Ks, we could save a heck of a lot of money and energy on hospitalizations and medical care.  My dad is the perfect example that you don't need a medical background, or a personal trainer, or fancy running outfits, or a membership to an expensive gym to get healthy and achieve your goals.  There are no excuses!

The 5K is a pretty kick-butt race.  In fact, it has taken the place of the 1600m as my favorite distance to run.  I can push myself into my fast zone and I don't have to worry as much about saving energy for later.  I don't burn out, and can usually dominate in my age group.  I read a really great article in Runner's World recently about 5K races.  Lauren Fleshman, the two-time U.S. Outdoor 5000m champion, explains why this distance is powerful.  I was shocked to hear about an encounter she had on an airplane with an arrogant runner who a) had no idea who she was, and b) believed that 5Ks were baby races, just bridges to "real" races:

"You know a lot about this stuff! You run marathons, too?" 
"Well, not really. Once. I race 5-Ks mostly."
Mr. Onplane is visibly less impressed. Fair enough. Anyone can run 3.1 miles. "I started out running 5-Ks, too," he says. "Keep at it, you'll get there."
With all the hullabaloo about Marathons and Half Marathons, runners often assume (incorrectly) that it's not a real race unless it's at least 13.1 miles.  But the 5K is a truly perfect distance for muscular endurance, speed, and power.  Plus, training for a 5K allows more opportunities for cross training and speed work, which promotes overall fitness and an efficient running gait pattern and prevents overuse injuries.  
For the complete article on why 5Ks rock (one reason being nipple health, what?!), see this link: Why 5Ks are Awesome

"The 5-K is freaking awesome. It encourages you to develop a combination of endurance, speed, and strength. You can train for it and still have a life. You can race one every weekend and still be able to walk normally. If people ran more 5-Ks, I'm positive the average life satisfaction of humans would increase dramatically."  Lauren Fleshman, from Runners World


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