Run Your Own Race – I Did!

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One of my goals for 2008 was to run a 5k (3.1 mile) race. Yesterday, I did it!

Saturday marked the 31st running of the Tulsa Run. Okay, the BIG race is a 15k, and I’m not ready for that, but I did participate in the 5k. As odd as it sounds coming from me, it won’t be my last. What a great experience!

At race time, it was a little over 40 degrees (Fahrenheit) with no wind. My “runner friends” tell me that was about as nice of conditions we could have wanted. I have to agree. It was a great!

Many runners sported t-shirts supporting one school or another, some group from their employer or club, and a plethora of political candidates up for election next month. One of the hot issues in Tulsa is the condition of our streets. It’s been an issue for some time, and I found it ironic that prominently in the 2nd or 3rd block after leaving the Start line, was an enormous pothole many runners had to swerve to avoid. Okay, point taken, I’ll check the “YES” box in propositions One and Two, allegedly to Fix Our Streets….yet again.

The course (see map) proceeded out of Downtown Tulsa, crossing an overpass into the Riverview neighborhood, before zigging over Denver Avenue and down the hill to Riverside Drive, along the Arkansas River. Shortly after hitting Riverside, was a turn-around (where we quickly passed a local cover band playing to the crowd – sorry I couldn’t tell you who it was, as I was rockin’ to my iPod by that point in the run). Then…the fun began.

About 2 miles into the run, the route turned back toward Downtown – UP Denver Avenue for about a mile. It’s safe to say the pace was a little slower after the turn, since it was certainly more UPhill. That’s okay, I’ve been feeling pretty good lately, and the training runs on asphalt (vs. treadmill) have definitely paid off. Then I saw him. My “inspiration man”.

Over the past 12 months, I’ve worked tireless hours training and changing my lifestyle to shed myself of a net of 30 lbs. I say NET because I’ve lost more than that in fat, while adding lean muscle. I must say, I’m in the best shape of my life, and say THANKS to the guys at Fitness Together Kingspointe Village for getting me off on the right foot!

With about half a mile left in the run, I was alternating a little more between my running pace and a brisk walk (runners call that “intervals”). There was another runner I noticed was swapping a lead back and forth with me. He was wearing a brown hat which sported a simple, two-word message on the back, “Size Matters”. That was all I needed. I had my mark. NO WAY was he going to beat me at the finish of this race. I am 6’3″, 260 lbs and running two races. First, I was competing against the clock. Based on my training runs, under 38 minutes was a given, and under 35 would make me VERY happy! Second, running in the “Clydesdale 230+” class, I was running against the other “big fellas” out on the road. So, in my case, size really DOES matter!

Closing in on the finish line in front of the newly completed, Cesar Pelli designed, BOk Center it was time to kick it up a notch. I couldn’t read the clock, but felt good about my pace…besides, I had uncovered my competitiveness with the “Size Matters” guy and needed to settle this once and for all. In my head, over the thumping bass in my earbuds, I heard a voice urging me to “Finish strong, Cooksey! Finish strong!” and sprung into a finishing sprint for the past 10th of a mile. As I kicked, I passed about 20+ runners who were simply spent, including my “hat brother”. When I checked the Official Results online today, I had finished 10th in the Clydesdale 230+ class (out of 27, thank you very much!).

My official time: 33:04. The site lists something called an “Age Weighted” time of 32:22. Either way, I am STOKED! It was my race and I beat my goal.

What goal will you set for yourself, commit to, and attempt? Leave your comments here on the blog!

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