5K run could be near-death experience

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico

Kevin Wilson, 31, of Clovis, N.M., died Saturday, April 10, 2010, on the streets of Portales.

He was born May 15, 1978, in Townsend, Mont.

He was a writer, photographer, columnist and expert in mediocrity.

There … so in case my fears come true on Saturday, my coworkers at least have the first few paragraphs of the death notice typed out for them.

For the first time in my life, I’m doing a 5K run, which is billed as a 5K run/walk, which means I will walk, run and cry when nobody’s looking.

I got the invite a few weeks ago from a friend I’ll call Shelli. She has friends who are in the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, and the entry fees go toward breast cancer research.

I took the invite because it raises money for breast cancer awareness. I took it because it’s good for my health. And I did it for the reason that any self-respecting man does anything … a girl asked me to, and I know she’ll respect me if I do everything she wants me to.

But I hadn’t gone running in a while for a multitude of reasons, most notably that it was snowing every third day. But in retrospect, I guess I’ve been making excuses all along.

Mark Bussen, who’s a track and cross country coach at Clovis High and a health/physical education instructor at Clovis Community College, once told me the story of a high schooler who gained national attention for a four-minute mile.

When reporters asked the kid, “How hard is it to run five miles every morning?” he responded that the running wasn’t the hard part. It was getting up. If you start making excuses, you’ve already lost.

Of course, not everybody shares the same enthusiasm for running. When I told a coworker that I tweaked my leg running, she replied, “What were you running from?” That’s her only acceptable reason to run.

I’m somewhere in between those two extremes. I’ll throw on the running shoes and get the mp3 player charged with a good running mix or a podcast of about 45 minutes, which is the average time I spend running/walking/complaining to myself that my back hurts.

I don’t belong to any gyms right now, so my treadmill is the long stretch of state road by my place. I try to bring my mp3 player so I don’t focus on how much litter people throw to the side, and I don’t bring my wallet so I’m not tempted to hit the convenience stores on the way (”You know what would be perfect for this run? A Dr Pepper and a Whatchamacallit.”)

I’ve done a few runs, and I’m planning at least one more pre-run so I am not completely unprepared.

But I won’t be unrealistic. I ran into Eastern New Mexico University football coach Mark Ribaudo, who said, “What’s your goal?” I responded, “Finishing.”

And if that doesn’t happen, here’s one more sentence for my coworkers: “In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to breast cancer awareness, so girls respect him.”

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail:

kwilson@cnjonline.com