Confession: I’ve been a snob about 5Ks. I’ve long considered them either for running rookies or for really fast people that can’t hack longer distances. I’m still bitter I couldn’t be a sprinter in high school track!
Like the Riesling I drink is to a wine enthusiast—entry level and sweet enough for everyone. Until your palette develops and you can progress to a half or full marathon.
In truth, 5Ks don’t play to my strengths. I’m not fast enough to hang with people that can run a mile in 4 (or 7) minutes. But I can run hours of 8-min miles. And why would I pay $30-80, wake up early, or drive any distance to run for less than a half hour? I wouldn’t! As if.
A few years ago I read this article about the benefits of running shorter races. For the first time, I questioned my attitude. The author’s reasoning stuck with me, and I thought of it often. Maybe more isn’t more. Maybe I can still identify as a runner and not only do long races.
It took me a few years, but this year, due to a combination of the annoying tendinitis (See: “The Ankle of Doom”), boredom/burnout with long distance running, and the ages of my kids, I’m changing focus and embarking on the summer of 5Ks.
It’s new. It’s different. My kids can come along. We all get out of the house in pursuit of physical activity, and the races are short enough that they aren’t going crazy while they spectate. (That’s a lie—they’re basically always going crazy/sneaking crap from the runner snack table, but not for as many hours.)
Gone is long week of tapering, and the weeks of recovery. I can keep my usual weight-lifting and cross training routines. I’m not destroyed after the race or so irritable and exhausted I can’t function as a mom. Risk of 💩 is diminished.
I still have long race envy, though. I’m jealous of the post-race face-stuffing. I don’t burn enough calories during training or racing to eat 75 cupcakes or chocolate every night before bed, and it’s starting to show. I miss the endorphin rush. I miss the street cred. Nobody thinks 5Ks are cool or impressive (read the article I linked to, darn it!), and I get it.
But I feel a passion for running that has been missing, and I hope that means I’m on the right track.