My last couple of posts have been about participating in the World Wide WP 5K Challenge. Automattic, the company that developed and maintains WordPress, challenged its bloggers to compete a 5K during the week of October 26 to November 1. They stressed that the 5K could be running, walking, or whatever. The challenge was to encourage its bloggers to get outside and move. They encouraged bloggers to use the “wwwp5k” tag on their posts and to take a picture as they crossed the finish line.
I decided to participate, and to participate by running a 5K, despite the fact–I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this–that I don’t like to run. During the week, I posted updates on my runs, as I attempted to work my way up to 5K.
Since a 5K was a significant challenge for me, I described it as The Epic Athletic Struggle of Fall, and noted that it was taking place at the same time as another epic athletic struggle: the World Series. As a lifelong fan of the Kansas City Royals, the World Series had taken on greater importance to me, and it interacted with my work on this challenge in interesting ways.
Having never been a runner, I started small, but with what was a significant accomplishment for me–about seven-tenths of a mile. I then increased that to 1 mile, and then to 2.5K (about 1.55 miles). The plan was to complete the 5K on Sunday, the last day of the challenge. But on Sunday, a morning Chiefs game, the deciding game of the World Series in the evening, and several other obligations in between kept me from completing the challenge.
So technically, I didn’t complete the challenge during the week of the challenge. But to me, the challenge has never been about a deadline; it’s been about accomplishing something I’ve never done before, and getting activity to support my ongoing efforts to get fit. With this in mind, I set out to complete the challenge on Monday morning.
I started early Monday morning, on four hours’ sleep, having gotten to bed late after celebrating the Royals’ World Series victory. I knew that doubling my previous longest distance would be difficult, but I wanted to try. I ended up completing only about 2.2 miles–nearly a mile short of my goal, and that distance included at least a small amount of walking.
Did I successfully complete my Epic Athletic Struggle of the Fall? By the technical standards of the challenge, no. I took eight days, not seven, and never did complete 3.1 miles (5K) in a single run. But over the eight days, I ran a total of 5.5 miles. Since Automattic emphasized that we could be flexible in how we meet the challenge, I could justify my total over four runs as meeting the 5K requirement.
Or, I could do that another way. Today–day 9 of the one-week challenge–I met the challenge another way. Today was the parade and civic celebration for the Kansas City Royals, and I was determined to go. My problem: the parade was scheduled to start at noon, and I had a meeting that wouldn’t end until noon. With hundreds of thousands expected to descend upon the two-mile long parade route, parking anywhere near the route was out of the question, especially given my late arrival. I ended up finally finding space just off 33rd Street, one block east of Troost.* I planned on catching the parade near Crown Center, as the southernmost point on the route.
*I know that won’t mean anything to many people, but those who are familiar with Kansas City will recognize how far that is from any point on the parade route.
About halfway through the walk it hit me that I would end up walking (round trip) more than 5K. Had I realized it sooner, I would have tracked it through MapMyWalk. I did have the foresight to check my steps on Fitbit before I began, so that I could subtract that from my total upon returning to my car. I also would check Google Maps later to determine a distance. The results: I accumulated more than 8,000 steps on my trip to and from the parade, and Google Maps showed that I walked about 3.8 miles each way. So this extended walk also exceeded 5K.
And, consistent with the Automattic’s suggestion, here is a picture–not of my finish line–but of the Royals parade at the finish line of their own Epic Athletic Struggle of Fall.
Finally, it is important to add that I haven’t given up on the goal of running a 5K. I’ll continue to add distance throughout November, with the goal of completing the Thanksgiving Day 5K that I mentioned in my first post of this series.
But don’t expect me to like running.