Back In The Race

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Greetings From The Booth!

So, let’s see a show of hands. How many of you re-seeded your NCAA brackets after arguably the craziest opening 2 rounds ever? There’s no shame in that–we did a Sweet Sixteen “re-do” in our friendly competition at work. Who saw not one, but two number-one seeds biting the dust. And there’s numver-4 seed Virginia, who fell to 13-seed Furman. Furman?!? It wasn’t quite UMBC, but still a one-and-done of major upset proportion. I still contend that the upsets happen early, but the cream always rises to the top, which is why I have Alabama playing Houston in the Championship Game.

If you listen to my morning radio show, you know that over the course of the last year, I’ve lost 48 pounds (thank you Brain & Body Health Center!). You also know that I recently ran a 5k race for the first time since 2018. Saturday’s Edward Jones Race For Education was the culmination of an almost year-long journey back to something I thought I would no longer be able to do.

That journey started right after the 2022 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. After looking at a pic of me and my buddies making merry at the “Bloom,” I realized that I was going in the wrong direction. At 210 pounds, I almost didn’t recognize myself in the photo. Sure, I had lost a few pounds on my own, but pictures don’t lie, and this pic was like a slap in the face.

Enter Dr. Evan Riggleman and his wonderful team at B&B. To make a long story short, they got me into some good habits and “reset” my metabolism in a healthy way. As for running, I started with some walks through the hills of my mountain neighborhood, gradually working in some short runs. By July, I was on my way to Deep Creek Lake minus 30 pounds, and ready for the challenging trails of DCL State Park. By late Fall, I was up to 20 miles per week and 48 pounds lighter. It was then that I targeted the Eddie Jones as my “comeback race.”

I navigated through the perils of the Holidays, managing to keep the weight off, and staying true to my running routine. At this point, Brain and Body started doing some amazing therapies on my arthritic knees, and shortly after the new year, the good doctor allowed me to play with some of his new toys which helped fight the nasty free radicals in my cells.  I was 63 going on 36!

Fast forward to race day. After a morning soak, I made my way to Warren County Middle School and the Edward Jones 5k. The butterflies were as big as 747s, not knowing how I was going to perform after 5 years of being away from running. The bar was low–finish, and enjoy the run. Period.

But, a funny thing happened. I got off to a nice early pace, running comfortably, even passing some runners in the first mile. The second mile, mostly downhill, was a bit faster, and as I started up the gradual slope of the final mile, I was faster still.  I paced myself behind a very nice lady who, with about a half mile to go, encouraged me to pass her and finish strong, which I was able to do with a nice kick to the line. How did I do? How about a top 20 finish overall, and winner of my age group with a time of 26:43. I had exceeded all expectations.

The journey continues in May with the Apple Blossom 10k…stay tuned.

RW