Last Friday, I ran in a 5k race. Tiger Dojo was one of the sponsors of Take Back The Night, a series of events to raise awareness of domestic violence and raise money for local shelters and crisis centers. We teach a self-defense workshop and run in the race.
My time was 22:09. I was a little disappointed by this; I had hoped to beat 22 minutes. I did not put enough effort into the race; I still had plenty of energy when it was over. I had run the course many times, but I was always running it with someone slower to help him train, so I never had any experience running the course at a race pace. In fact, it has been years and years since I actually ran a 5k at maximum speed. I have forgotten how to pace myself to go all out, and so I end up conserving too much energy.
They just posted the results online. I came in 35 out of 463, although a lot of those were walkers. I actually came in second in my age group, which surprised me. It makes sense, though; almost all of the faster runners were guys in the younger age groups. There were a few older runners that beat me, and one woman. I have no idea what the prize would have been if I had hung around for the awards.
I was the fastest runner in our dojo, as usual. The second fastest was, once again, Sensei Erik, who ran the race in cargo pants, as usual. At least he was not running in hiking boots this time, and he ended up running a couple minutes faster as a result. He also seemed fine at the end; he was not breathing hard at all but said his legs were a little sore.
Third and fourth place were two new students, the ones I had trained with earlier. They had never run long distance before I started running with them. They both came in shortly behind Erik; they had been trying to keep up with him and it exhausted them.
None of these three people has a runner's physique, but they are all very fit. Erik has been practicing martial arts for years, one of the students was a swimmer in high school, and the other was a wrestler. They all did much better than some of the taller people in our dojo, people you might think would be fast runners.
People think that running is simple, but there is a lot of skill and technique to it, especially for distance running. Breathing, stride, pacing, and mental focus are very important. I tried to teach this, but I am not really a running trainer so I probably did not do it right.
Cardiovascular fitness is also key. It is very hard to tell, just by looking at someone, how much stamina they have.
I am mainly a good runner because my dad made me run so much when I was little. It was his hobby, and he took me along. I remember that I sometimes hated it at the time, but now I am glad that he made me do it. It is a good skill to have.