The Marathon Man

Let me start out by saying I am not a runner. When I was young I did run track but nothing longer than the 300-meter hurdles. If I have to farther than 300 meters I am taking a car, a train, a bus, or maybe even a plane. Years of playing sports have left my knees in bad shape. Every time I kneel down and try to get back up it sounds like a Rice Krispies commercial. So given these facts, why in the world would I even consider signing up for a 5K race?
Well the answer to that has everything to do with where the race is and who is sponsoring. On February 9th the Arizona Diamondbacks will hold their first of what they hope will be a 5K Race Against Cancer that begins and ends at Chase Field. Hmm, let me think; a 5K that starts at my home away from home and ends just outside the gates that will open early for Diamondbacks FanFest and each finisher gets a Diamondbacks shirt, a drawstring backpack, and a ticket to a ballgame? Well sign me up!
Diamondbacks Race Against CancerThe other motivation for attempting this is the cause. The Diamondbacks Foundation along with Dbacks CEO Derrick Hall are hoping to raise money for cancer research. In this past year I have had a lot of opportunity to become close to this horrible disease. My uncle lost his battle with pancreatic cancer just before the 2012 baseball season ended. I saw him go from a vibrant father and grandfather to someone whom I could barely recognize. It was especially heart wrenching by the fact that I too had been undergoing several tests for the same type of cancer. To date the diagnosis has come back as pre-cancerous which I still have no idea what that means. In November I lost an aunt after complications from bladder cancer and right now my mother is fighting multiple myeloma, which affects the bone marrow. So any opportunity I have to help raise money or awareness about cancer and I will jump at the chance.
After filling out the paperwork for the race online I submitted an application for myself and then entered one for my wife. It was not until I received the confirmation that it hit me what I had just done. I am registered for a running event. What in the world was I thinking? As if it wasn’t bad enough that I was now an entered participant to a race but the race check-in is at 6:30 AM. I didn’t even know there were two 6:30’s in a day. I should have known I was in trouble when the registration form asked what my time was per mile. All I could think of was that my Camaro can do a quarter mile in about 12 seconds so if I multiple that by four then it should take me right around 48 seconds. If I take braking into account then my total should be maybe about a minute. At least there were no questions about factoring in parallel parking otherwise I might be toast.
When I mentioned to my wife that I had signed us both us to run in a 5K she just stared blankly at me sort of like how she does when I try to explain Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) or Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). I went on to explain that she didn’t have to worry we had plenty of time to train for this race after all it isn’t being run until February 9th. What? February 9th is next Saturday? What happened to January? I’m still paying for Christmas; it can’t be February yet! So I basically have 8 days to go from couch potato to distance runner.
While I was busy calculating how I could fit distance running training into the next 192 hours before race time my wife asked what I thought was a silly question, “The Diamondbacks have a 1K Fun Walk why didn’t you sign us up for that instead?” Well duh, the 1K run came with upper deck Diamondbacks tickets while the 5K you received lower deck tickets to the April 26th game. That might have been a great argument except for one small detail; I already have tickets to the April 26th game. And while I am thinking about it, why do the 1K guys have to sit in the upper deck while the 5K guys get lower deck? A 5K is a lot longer race so they would be used to going up the stairs at Chase Field. Oh sorry, I kind of went off on a tangent there for a second.
According to the Mayo Clinic web site to properly train for a 5K if you are a beginning runner should take approximately 7 weeks. Ok no problem, I have 7 days so if I treat each day as a week in the training program I should be ready to rock by next Friday giving myself almost a full day to recover before the actual race starts.
While my wife was busy trying to come up with a plan where we would both just survive a race of this length I was researching the race path to see whether it would be possible for us to win. You see, if you happen to win the 5K you get to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Diamondbacks game. How cool would that be? If you are going to have to run 5K there better be a pretty good prize at the end of it and throwing out a first pitch is pretty much the best prize a guy could win. The more I think about this the more I’m starting to think that the 5K may not mean the distance we are running. It’s more likely the amount of money I am going to have to pay the hospital when they scrape me off the pavement and take me to the emergency room. But hey you never know maybe I’ll be like the 2011 Diamondbacks and come from behind and win the west then throw out the ceremonial first pitch. A guy can dream can’t he?


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