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Now I Can Run to Walk 5k (Provo, Utah) 2014 Recap

by Daniel Johnston

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After having an amazing first half marathon, I was excited to have recovered and be back to running. Only two weeks after finishing the Provo City Half Marathon, I competed in the Now I Can Run to Walk 5k.

This is a pretty cool race because it takes place on site of the Now I Can foundation. In fact, a large number of the 150+ runners were patients at the Now I Can foundation themselves. Although many of them were not even able to talk, they were all thriving in their one ways and it was incredible to see people who didn’t used to be able to even walk run 5ks. It was also very cool to see the facilities and the patients (mostly kids, but also many adults) with their families.

I took a friend of my mine to the race, who had just completed his first 5k two weeks earlier in the 5k event of my half marathon. We had a good time together, although we mostly kept to ourselves and took everything in.

I had high hopes for this race, hoping to finally break the 20 minute barrier. After running 20:45 in February, by the time of this race in mid-May I had still been unable to crack 20. I was hoping this would be the day.

I was careful to pace myself at the beginning and everything was going fine as I ran a 6:30 first mile. Early on, however, my shoe came untied. I did not stop to tie it, and that definitely slowed me down.

On the second mile I tried really hard to keep my pace, but it was just not possible. Although I pushed hard, I could only do a 6:51 second mile. By the third mile, I was practically dying and ran 7:14; slower than I did the last mile of my half marathon. Weird how two fast miles take more energy than 12 miles just 30 seconds slower.

So my total time was 20:46. The course was very weird, though. It was actually only 3.06 miles (not a huge difference), but there were two very weird, very steep bridges flooded with water that you actually had to run through. I was planning to try to make a comeback at the end, but those bridges really hurt me.

Also, the course was not properly marked. When I saw the third mile marker, I started sprinting for the finish line. Actually, though, the third mile marker was at around mile 2.7 or 2.8. That meant I soon exhausted all my remaining energy, so that definitely didn’t help.

In the end, I think I really would’ve done a lot better if my shoelaces had been tied. I obviously needed new shoes, and it cost me in this race.

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I ended up finishing 14th in the race and getting second in my age group. Unfortunately, though, they only gave prizes to the top age group finisher (ironically, he finished in 20:00.6). My friend got 31 minutes, an improvement by a couple minutes for him from the previous race where he had run it in 33:30. He did absolutely no training; he just improved by two minutes simply by running a race. It was also even better because he had previously been worried he wouldn’t break 40, he wouldn’t be able to finish, and he would fall and hurt/embarrass himself. Of course, instead he did great 🙂

Although the race wasn’t organized very well, it’s understandable given they were probably worried about other things. Still, it’s disappointing given it was the sixth annual race and I would think they’d have things ironed out by now.

Overall, I would recommend the race. It was worth it to be able to support the Now I Can foundation and experience that environment. Here’s hoping my shoes never come untied in a race again, though 🙂

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