My ninth place showing in the inaugural Metropolitan 5K Run/Walk? Yeah, I’m proud of that! I trained for the race. I ate right the day before. I had a race plan, and I executed it. So when I crossed the finish line--where my wife and daughters were standing and cheering me on--it was mission accomplished.
Running and completing a 5K is an incredible rush, and if you haven’t tried it, I hope to convince you that you should. These are the three reasons why I run:
To establish a new fitness identity. Quite frankly, it’s no longer self-comforting to tell people that I used to be athletic, or that I used to be a competitive sprinter (in my teens), or I that used to be gym rat. What I am now is an older man, a husband and father, and a full-time employee who makes time to exercise in the morning before the kids wake up and trains for 5Ks during his lunch break at work.
To win. Winning feels good, and when I compete, I like to win. But since I’m not going to beat a guy like our resident competitive distance runner Gregory Applewhite in a 5K, I race against myself. By next year, I plan to shave a full 10 minutes off my time in last week’s 5K.
The Bible says, “The race is not to the swift” (Ecc. 9:11, KJV). But the Bible also says, “...run to win” (1 Cor. 9:24, CEV); “winning” in this context is disciplining my body and “making it my slave” (vs. 27). Now that’s self-control!
To raise awareness. My first ever 5K was last year’s Autism Speaks 5K Run/1-mile Walk, held every Fourth of July in Potomac, Maryland. My 5-year-old daughter, Kiley, has autism. It’s easy for a family dealing with autism--or any other pervasive or long-term medical condition--to feel isolated. So in the months leading up to that event, Camesia, my wife, and I, were seeking ways to become a part of the autism community and to raise awareness about this life-alerting epidemic.
When we arrived at the event, we were overwhelmed by the sight of so many people there in support of Autism Speaks, which funds autism research and provides informational resources for families like mine through their website, www.autismspeaks.org. But July 4th, 2012 was also the start of that new identity I wrote about above. Completing that 5K made me believe I could do anything! Up next: a 10K, then maybe a half marathon--or, the previously unthinkable, a full marathon!
Team Kiley Wiley (now Kiley’s Cavalry) at the the finish line of the 2012 Autism Speaks 5K Run/1-mile Walk.
What cause do you, or would you, run for? If not for autism awareness, there are a myriad other noble charities that would welcome your participation. And the truth is, if I can do a 5K, you can, too! Anything is possible once you put your mind to it.
How You Can Get Involved in Autism Awareness and Support
The 2013 Autism Speaks 5K Run/1-mile Walk is just weeks away. Mark Thursday, 4 July on your calendar, because Camesia and I would like to invite you to join our family as we return to where it all began. Go to www.autismspeaks5k.org/ and search, or simply click on this link, for “Kiley’s Cavalry”--despite our team name, we’ll be running and walking, not riding horses.