I remember my first 10K. I’d never been particularly athletic, but I was always active and loved sports. As I trudged through my mid- to late-20s, I wondered what options I had to stay in shape.
I ran the Bellin Run in 2009 while working at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. I ran it alone, and I’d set out to prove something to myself – that at age 29, and despite my sedentary lifestyle, I could pound out 6.2 miles with the best of them.
I barely made it in under an hour. I was angry for a minute that I hadn’t done it faster, that many members of the newsroom who had 15, 20 years on me, had crushed my time.
Then it dawned on me: This could be a starting point.
Now, I’ve completed four marathons, including my first sub-4-hour, 26.2-mile race last fall.
Holy smokes, it took a lot of work, but work quickly turned into joy. I found that if I ran a few miles each day, I was sharper, happier, more engaged with people.
As a member of the Corn Classic 10K board, I urge you to take on our race Sept. 23. I don’t care how fast, or slow, you run. You can walk. After all, if you do so, you’ll get to soak up all the race-day experience, from the sights of Northern Illinois University (including Huskie Stadium) to the musicians who will be playing along the course.
That’s always sort of been the aspect of races I’ve loved most: the gathering of people, who are all pulling for each other – from the middle-aged huffer/puffer such as myself to the child with a cowbell and a sign that reads “You’re beating everyone who’s behind you.”
That community aspect, that celebration before, during and after the race that we’re all capable of doing something remarkable, is what turned me from a late-20-something never-was into a nearly 40 been-there-done-that-loved-that.
I’m proud (amazed of and enamored with, really) my wife, Kayla, who’s left me in her dust. She’s run six marathons and is now a personal trainer and group fitness coordinator at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA. This is a late-bloomer who’d resorted to being a manager for her high school cross country team, as she’d through that time in her life let her asthma dictate what she could and couldn’t do.
Now, she’s gunning toward a 4-hour marathon at the Lakeshore Marathon in our “home city” of Milwaukee.” This is 10 years after she’d struggled to complete a 5K in less than 35 minutes.
Come on folks, how cool is that? Don’t you want some of that? Whether you’re 23, as she was, or pushing 40, as I am, or best of all, older than 40 and eager to seize these years the best you can, I urge you to put one foot in front of the other and get with it.
To join all of us, visit dekalbcornclassic.org for information or to register.
See you out there!
• Christopher Heimerman is the editor of the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.