I've been pretty good about regularly jogging over the past year. At least twice a week I would be on the treadmill at night getting in about 5K. I kept telling myself that I was going to enter at least one 5K race in 2009, but it never happened. A few weeks ago I saw that my friend Chris had completed a 5K as part of the training series for the Indy 500 Mini Marathon. I remembered how I had failed on my promise to myself in 2009 and resolved to make it happen in 2010.
My first task was to find a way to start running outside. Running on a treadmill is convenient, and it is good exercise, but it is definitely not the same as running outside. My typical day was to wake up a little before 8am, get prepped and out the door by 8:30 and into the office around 9:30am. Most evenings I left work between 6:30 and 7:00. Getting home so late meant that, even if the sun were still out, my family wasn't going to wait around on me to run before having supper. So my running time didn't come up until after dinner and getting the kids to bed, which means 9pm at the earliest. It's pretty dark at 9pm in Indiana, especially in February. Most nights I don't get to bed until 2 or 3 in the morning. I've been like that all my life - I've always had trouble going to bed at a decent hour, but I seem to operate just fine on only a few hours of sleep each night. I'm definitely not a morning runner, so I had to find a way to be able to get home with a enough time to run before dinner, and while the sun was still up.
My solution was to shift the start of my day back. Now my alarm goes off at 6am and I'm usually at the office by 7 or 7:30am. An added benefit of this early wake is that traffic is much lighter. I leave from work around 4:30, which again helps to avoid traffic but it also gets me home with enough time to run before dinner. I've been running outside these last two weeks and getting my legs in road run shape.
This is all in preparation for my first road race of 2010: The Indianapolis St. Patrick's Day Celebration Shamrock Run. It is a 4 mile race in downtown Indy.
I pushed my distance past 4 miles on Friday, and I've got two more weeks to continue prep for this race. I don't intend to put in anything like a competitive time, but I would be really pleased if I finished in under 45 minutes. The registration information says that runners are expected to keep a minimum of a 12 minute per mile pace, and that is pretty close to my jogging pace. Hopefully I don't irritate some poor race volunteer by puttering through this course.