Plan B Isn’t Always So Bad

This weekend was a mixed bag. Mostly good. Almost overwhelmingly good actually. All weekends should go this nicely. Other than the wistfulness I felt as I saw friends running the Colfax Marathon and Half Marathon. That was part of the four races I was definitely doing even though I scheduled something else for the same day. Which makes me wonder how much of a priority it was, right? And it was an awesome day weather wise.

But I promised myself I’d not beat myself up over that.

All things considered though, I wouldn’t change anything.

What I scheduled was something that, I’m glad I scheduled it. It was a good morning. Decades ago, literally (well, 2 decades anyway) I had pastored a couple of small churches. I figured I was probably done with that for good. There was a stage where I was completely sure I was done with that. But then here I go, enrolling in seminary for awhile, and then shifting into a different masters program all with a view towards going into ministry. A few weeks ago I preached at a church service for the first time in years. It went well, they asked me to fill in again. I took the opportunity in a heartbeat without taking a moment to double check that the race was indeed on a Saturday. It wasn’t. I know I was wondering how well I would feel like standing up there for 20 or 30 minutes after just having run a half marathon. This is all part of what I want to be doing with my life, it’s a step in that direction anyway, so truth be told if I realized the conflict when I agreed to speak, I think I still would have chosen to speak over the half marathon.

Just don’t tell my coach that.

And, when it was all done, I felt good about it. Very good. I felt much more at ease this time, and received some very positive feedback. That meant the world to me.

Though I was still wistful as I started seeing updates from friends as they finished their races.

They did, however, have a 5K as part of the race package that ran on Saturday. I was able to get transferred to that. I could not have been more thrilled with the final result. I not only PR’d, I crushed my PR. (Personal Record for those non runners who are reading. Assuming anyone is reading at all). Three weeks ago I set that PR at the Cherry Creek Sneak. I was pretty tickled at that one, getting it in 41:23. I was wondering if I could get this one in at under 40 minutes.  The 30’s has been this huge milestone for me because I’m past the point of wanting to be able to just run it all. I can do that, I’ve established that. Now I’m getting to where I want to be able to really run it.  To go at a pace that is faster than a brisk walk. Breaking 40 means I’m getting there.


The weather was perfect. The atmosphere was awesome. There were just under 2,000 runners for the 5K event. Not too bad, even if the 5K does seem kinda like the red headed step child of the marathon. As the race started I settled into a pace that I knew was a little faster than the one I started with the Sneak 3 weeks ago. I was thrilled that I got a 12:45 for my last full mile back then. I had picked up the pace a little more with each mile in that run. I knew that if I was going to break 40, I had to average somewhere close to that 12:45. My goal was to match that 12:45 pace and keep it through the race.

I was a little surprised how well I was able to keep my pace up. I knew I was pressing myself a bit and was pretty sure I would beat my time for the Sneak. But was I going to break 40?

As I got close to the finish line I moved to a spot where there was no one in front of me. If they were taking pictures, I wanted to be where I wasn’t being blocked by anyone. I felt good and I wanted to run in victoriously, hands held high. It was just one of those incredible, emotional feelings that is hard to describe in any other way.

Oh…  yeah, my phone. I started the timer on the Endomondo app as I started – how did I do? I fumbled to pull it out and stop it quickly.


Okay, I know it took a few seconds to get my phone out. Did it take 20 seconds? I think it did – I’m sure it did. Did it? I was able to find friends from O2EA (Overweight 2 Endurance Athlete – the fitness group that I belong to that did the 90 day challenge I wrote about earlier).


I commented that I was pretty hopeful that I beat my goal. But I didn’t know.

How was I going to feel it it came in as 40:01. I mean, I’d still be thrilled with that, absolutely overjoyed that I knocked of nearly a minute and a half from my PR. But to come that close?

Now here’s the thing that really tells me the progress I’ve felt. Every 5K I’ve done in years past, after finishing the run and then wandering around the expo, my legs would be toast by the time I got to the car. Rigor mortis is setting in. Getting OUT of the care again? Yeah, that’s kind of slow and painful. But this time, I had more than a mile walk back to my car, and I felt great. I got home, and I felt great. I definitely could tell a difference.

Driving home, my phone chirped. I was sure that was the email. I found the nearest parking lot I could and pulled in so I could look. There it was – the results.


I didn’t just beat 40. I crushed it. Okay, 49 seconds isn’t a crush necessarily, but in my eyes, yeah, I crushed it.


Think I was a little happy with that?

So here are my splits from 3 weeks ago and then from Saturday.



Every mile from Saturday was faster than my best mile from 3 weeks ago.

The part that amazed me though: 12:11? Are you kidding? I know, for some of you, 12:11 is excruciatingly slow. But for me, it wasn’t all that long ago that being able to run at a 12 minute pace for even a few seconds was a huge breakthrough for me. And here I was, sustaining that pace for a whole mile. And then still maintaining a sub 13 after that…  I seriously did not think that was possible.

And now I’m seeing a whole 5K at a sub 12 pace. 37 minutes is my next milestone.

A week from today: Bolder Boulder. 10K. Can I break 80?




About Ron Walter

I'm just a guy who was so out of shape he couldn't run to get out of the rain. I'm taking my life back. It's not always perfect, not always successful. The victories though are greater than the defeats. I plan to keep it that way.
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3 Responses to Plan B Isn’t Always So Bad

  1. How exciting, congratulations!!

  2. Great job! Isn’t it so lovely to see that you’ve beaten a time goal when you thought you hadn’t?!

  3. Katie says:

    Congrats on your PR!

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