If I’m not mistaken, the last 5K race I participated in was in May 2014, eight years ago! So I was glad to have the opportunity to run in another 5K. I want to get my fitness back and get the “feel good” endorphins flowing through my brain again. I could have never imagined that running was so fun until I got serious about it from roughly 2010-2014.

I want this race to be the beginning of a brand new journey into the joys of running.

Getting ready to start the race!

The racecourse was a reasonably flat course except for a mild hill about a mile in. But much of it was on an asphalt walking track – easy on the feet but crowded at times. The group that sponsored this race thought about every detail making for a very pleasant experience.

GPS data from my Garmin watch

My official race time was 00:36:18 for a pace of 11’41”. That’s faster than I’ve been recently running. But it’s nothing compared to what I was doing a few years ago. On April 6, 2013, I ran a 5K in hilly Floral City, Florida. I finished that race in 22:50 with an average pace of 7’12.” I don’t know if I will ever get back to those times but I will do my best.

In this race, I hadn’t been training enough. I am also carrying around a bunch of unwanted weight. I weighed in at 242 lbs this morning. So, as much as I hated to do it, I had to stop and walk a few times. I was even thinking about stopping to walk about a quarter-mile from the end of the race. But Neil Clements ran back after finishing his race to run the last bit with me.

Hanging out with Neil Clements after the race

Neil is someone to whom I’m deeply indebted. I can’t remember when I first got to know him but we connected on a running website called DailyMile many years ago. He coached and encouraged me and really helped me to experience the joys of running. It was great to connect again.

I also played a small part in getting Drew White into his new running habit. He had a desire to get back into the sport and I simply encouraged him and gave a few instructions. So his first-ever 5K race was today. It was apropos that he was able to run in a Police Memorial race. He is a former cop and he has a deep respect for the men and women who serve their communities as police officers.

Hanging out with Drew and Jamie White

To say that this race kicked my butt would be an understatement. But it was my own fault. I was out of shape. Looking at it positively, I’ve got a new time and pace that I want to beat as I continue to get back into an incredibly rewarding running habit.

Moments from crossing the finish line