I am not athletic. I think I made that clear in my post about hiking, but let me reiterate it. I am the least athletic person. As in, I shy away from most sports, because I’m so completely terrible at them. And that coming from a neo-Mennonite girl! I shall definitely end up excommunicated or an old maid, if my athleticism has anything to say about it.
But enough about that. Let me tell you what I have done.
Some little imp whispered in my ear and made me put “Do a 5k” on my 2017 list of goals that I made at work. I don’t know what placed the idea there, seeing I could run about 49 feet before collapsing with a stroke, but there it was, for my boss and coworkers to see.
And so I downloaded a couch to 5k app and started running. Let me rephrase that. I started shuffling down the street,
heaving walking up hills, and wheezing down hills. Every time before I went, I’d have to psych myself up, put how much I hated it out of my mind, and go anyhow. Shin splints and sore muscles plagued me, and there were plenty weeks when I didn’t reach my goals, because I just couldn’t make myself do it. I bought better running shoes, something like this, and was pleasantly surprised when my shin splints ceased.
When I was done with a run, I’d feel somewhat accomplished, but mostly I just hated it, for months and months. And then came a cool fall day where the wind whisked leaves to the ground and the sky rumbled with ominous gray clouds, and I actually felt excited to go out and run. Novel feeling!
I got a gym membership to finish out my training, so I could run in all weather and times of day, and so I could track my progress better. I still couldn’t run the full 5 kilometers, but I could definitely make myself go that far by some mixture of running and walking and shuffling and weeping. I found myself saying very foreign phrases such as, “I need to do laundry because all my gym clothes are dirty.” Who would have thought that would ever roll off my tongue?!
And then one day I found The One. Our eyes met across the crowded coffee shop, and the world stopped spinning for an instant. Just kidding. I was searching for the perfect 5k, and my eyes landed on a link advertising one at an airport. Running on a runway? I could almost get into that! And so I signed up, along with Roman and Mimi and Hudson, who would get to ride in a stroller. Lucky kid.
We got up waaaaay too early in the morning, and made the long drive to the airport, where took our obligatory terrible pre-run selfie, and waited anxiously while the crowd assembled. Let me rephrase that, I bit my nails anxiously while Roman and Mimi waited calmly and Hudson ran around being cute, as he is wont to do.
The chilly sunrise was lovely, and almost made up for having my alarm go off at 4 AM. Almost.
At last the countdown started, and we were off! The crowd was massive, which was somewhat comforting, because with that many people the chances of being the worst runner there were somewhat slimmer. People of all shapes and sizes surrounded us, my favorites being the lady who passed me pushing a guy in a wheelchair, and the girl dressed as Waldo.
Roman and Mimi ran along (and even Hudson took a turn out of his stroller) and I heaved myself beside them, my eyes desperately searching the horizon for the finish line. Finally, there it was, a beacon of hope in the distance.
We crossed the line to cheering crowds and jolly volunteers handing out bananas and water. I didn’t set any world records, but after months of work, I finished my race!
We took our obligatory terrible post-run selfies, and I decided if I ever did this again to not run with someone who finishes looking as cool as a cucumber. Seriously, how is it fair that she looks this good??
Roman ran with no training AND pushed the stroller and I still had to work to keep up (facepalm), but I beat him by one second, so I was satisfied. 😀
And Hudson of course did his part of being the cutest participant present. He’s pretty good at that.
Plenty of stretching and yawning and showers later, we ended up at the Flying Biscuit Cafe, where I had the meal that made the whole day worth it. Go. Eat the creamy grits and Eggs Benedict. Thank me later.
And so we conclude the tale of the Red Pineapple. If you wish to take a moral from the story, it is this: If I of all people can run a race, believe me, so can you.