Last week I ran my first timed 5km race as part of the annual Modiin Race. I set myself the goal of running in the 5km race last year when my wife and son competed in last year’s Modiin Race, and I’m pretty proud of myself for achieving my goal.
I started running again towards the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, and was pretty consistent until about April when I stopped running.
Then, as the race approached, I decided to start running again at the beginning of November when the weather started to cool.
My pace was predictably relatively slow to begin with (I hadn’t done much exercise for months, after all), but I feel like I improved nicely over the following two weeks.
I was hoping to complete the race in under 30 minutes, although I just realised that I based that goal on the assumption that the race course was 5km.
It was actually a little more, so my time was pretty good for my first 5km race in years (I ran a 5km fun run years ago in Johannesburg).
I wouldn’t say that I enjoy running, necessarily, but I do like getting out and exercising. I also enjoy the feeling of progress when I run further without slowing to walk, and the feeling of having accomplished something for myself afterwards.
I finally took some time to get outside, and exercise for the first time in about a week. I was going to do my usual run (it’s effective but I don’t particularly like it) when my daughter asked me to take her to the park.
I was about to say “No”, and that I wouldn’t have time, and then it occurred to both of us that I could take her to the park, and get my cardio workout.
So we took a ball and a frisbee. Our daughter (and, later, her friend too), threw the frisbee, or kicked the ball, and I ran around fetching it for them.
I’ve been running for the last two months (not continuously), and I’ve experimented with some sort of audio accompaniment to help pass the time.
I started off listening to podcasts, and while this helped me get through more of my podcast backlog, listening to podcasts doesn’t really give me that extra oompf to get up the hills.
So I switched over to some music. I started off with “9 Dead Alive” by Rodrigo y Gabriela, but then it disappeared from Spotify (for me at least). I then bought the album, and loaded it onto my phone to play through another audio app on my phone
That worked for a run or two until I felt the need for something different. In the past, I’ve tended to go for movie soundtracks when I worked out, specifically instrumental soundtracks. With music from the likes of Batman, the Flash, and more, the playlist definitely has the drama to get up those hills.
Still, it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. So I looked at some of the music I’ve been listening to lately, and came up with my current “Going for a run” playlist:
This music isn’t exactly what you’d hear in a gym, or otherwise associate with some sort of workout but what I like about these songs is that they tend to have a great cadence for my current running pace.
I’ve used this playlist for about a week or so, and so far it’s helped move me along my current route at a decent pace.
Today is the sixth anniversary of my Diabetes diagnosis. I remember the morning I received the news from my doctor. I had gone for blood tests because I was feeling thirsty almost constantly, and I noticed that my vision was a little fuzzy.
I discovered that these are two typical symptoms of Diabetes later. At the time, I was in a state of shock. I was only 37. I thought that life as I knew it was over. It was, just not how I thought at the time.
Being diagnosed forced me to lose weight, and start eating far better. Much of the credit for eating better goes to my wife who’s found great, Diabetic-friendly alternatives to common ingredients in the years since then. I remember that she basically went out and replaced much of our kitchen inventory with healthier options almost right away.
Since then, my control has been mostly ok.
The thing with Diabetes is that it’s a progressive condition. You need to work at it, every day, for the rest of your life.
That means you need to be mindful about what you eat, and when you eat it. I haven’t found that depriving entirely is the way to go, at least not for me. I cheat now and then, and focus on keeping that urge under control.
I’ve slipped many times. My levels were way too high for most of 2018, and I’ve started to bring them back down in the last couple months with more regular exercise. When I spoke to my doctor after my latest blood test results, she said that she’d formally prescribe exercise if she could, it’s that important.
I started running at the beginning of the year. I aim for 20 minutes, five times a week. I can’t say that I enjoy running, but I’m getting stronger, and 20 minutes isn’t that much time. It’s enough to get my heart rate up to where it needs to be (frequently even higher), and I can see the results in my routine blood tests.
I can also see what happens when I take a break from my running.
For now, my goal is to get my levels down enough for a “normal” HbA1c test in a month or two. That’s only going to happen with regular exercise, better discipline with what I eat, and a focus on the positive benefits of all of this effort.
At the same time, I’m also thinking about doing a race or two this year. The city conducts a running race in November each year. Gina and Aaron ran last year, and I think I’ll join them this year, and run the 5km race.
It’s been a challenging 6 years, and I’m sure there will be more challenges in the year ahead. The point, though, is that there will be years to look forward to.
As someone who has only just begun to understand what everyone else sees in running and who hasn’t run much further than about 3kms, my mind boggles at the runners who tackle the Comrades (or anything more than 10km, for that matter).
If you happen to be running this race today (or any other race) and you hit a point where you don’t see yourself finishing and step out of it, I’ll still be in awe of what you achieved to that point and will achieve tomorrow.