Due to the apparent popularity of my first two columns on this subject, I felt it appropriate to update readers on my latest running adventure.
You may remember that my first attempt at a 5-kilometer run took place a couple of years ago at Lambeau Field - a run so hot and humid that I suffered from flashbacks at recent Packers games.
I opted to stay in Door County last year and try the Running Green for Crossroads 5k. It's a good cause, and running through the woods seemed so much more appealing than city streets and I didn't have to drive 40 miles to shower. But while cement and asphalt roads can be unforgiving on your joints, so too can a grass-covered divot or camouflaged tree root.
Actually, Saturday's run was positive in so many ways. First and foremost, it's well organized and staged on a beautiful course.
Last year, I had developed plantar fasciitis while running. This insidious ailment unmercifully attacked my right heel. Dr. Scholl's stock must have fared well over the past year as I've outfitted all my shoes with inserts (replacing many) while limiting my running to tread mills. It seems to have worked as the pain has not only subsided but the inserts have allowed me to increase my height to the stature I exaggerated on my driver's license.
All appeared in order for another run at Crossroads. For those of you who haven't attended any of the numerous fun runs that dot the Door County events calendar, they are very much like social hour at church with more colorful shoes. People chat about almost everything except for the pain they are about to inflict upon themselves.
The Crossroads run consists of a longer 10k distance as well as a 2k walk. Let me say that I have the utmost respect for the 10k runners. They get the same T-shirt, pretty little evergreen tree and cup of ice cream with a cookie than the 5k runners get and endure twice the distance. I know how I feel three kilometers into my run and the prospect of another seven, despite the beautiful scenery, is at best daunting.
The consolation in Saturday's run was that former Sevastopol High School running standout and current UW-Stevens Point distance runner James Heroux opted to run the 5k. Clearly, there was no disgrace in the shorter distance.
Certainly, I had no intention of keeping pace with a talented collegiate runner, but it would have at least been nice to still have him in sight at the first turn. With a blistering time of 18 minutes, James was already collecting his pine tree shortly after I crossed the halfway point.
More than 15 minutes later I crossed the finish line, my strategy to end my losing streak to my wife Leslie shot up like a clay pigeon on league night at Peninsula Gun Club.
Leslie finished nearly three minutes ahead of me, which would have been fine had it not been for the fact that she was disappointed with her time. I could blame it on the humidity or the hills, but truth be told I ran slower than last year and my foot didn't even hurt.
Yes, my foot survived fine and that was some good news. That and next year I'll move into a new age group - even if it is 60.