06 April 2009

She Gets an A for Effort

About two months ago I asked Co-Worker Jessica if she wanted to do the Couch to 5K with me. She enthusiastically agreed to it. Shortly after the start of training our entire household came down with some horrible stomach virus, which I promptly used as an excuse to never train at all. Jessica sent me encouraging emails about how much she was "just loving this" while I was busy puking up a pancreas.

So, race day approached and, initially I told Jessica I just wasn't going to do the 5K. The race we were training for was the Red Bud Classic. Now, I ran the Red Bud about six years ago, also with no training base (I'm seeing a pattern here) and finished in at an embarrassing 46 minutes. I will tell you now that the ONLY reason I finished that one at all was because I don't know the Oklahoma City area that well, and particularly not the neighborhood in which the race is held and I had no idea how to get home. I knew that the only way I would ever see my loved ones again was to make it to the finish line and take the shuttle back to my car.

Yesterday morning as I lay in bed attempting to WILL myself to get up my frantic mind came up with all kinds of reasons not to go:

1) I am tired because I didn’t get nearly enough sleep last night. I would have to go to work straight from the race and I would get there tired, worn out, exhausted.

2) I didn’t train, even though I promised Jessica I would.

3) It is really windy and cold outside.

4) I just plain don’t feel like it.

All of these were good reasons, all of them valid, but in a desperate attempt to be a better person than I currently am……I went. I had reasons to go, sure, but I could only think of one at the moment: I really didn’t want to be the sort of person who asks someone to accompany her on an adventure and then ditches the adventurous friend at the last minute. When the only exercise you get is jumping to conclusions, it may be a good idea to postpone the 5K, but nooooo. I had made a promise and I was about to keep it.

First of all I learned that when those healthy types talk about carbo loading they probably don’t mean “eat an entire package of chocolate mousse flavoured Peeps just moments before running”. They stuck in my gut, but the aftertaste was worth it.

It was so windy that at times I felt like I was standing still when I was actually, theoretically, anyway, going forward. I kept looking down at my feet and it appeared that they were moving, but I felt no forward motion because the wind was pushing me back.

They give you this goodie bag when you register, but you really only need a few items from it:

Bib number

Safety pins with which to pin on your bib number

Timing chip


Everything else is swag and most if it is rubbish. I saved the mint and threw everything else away as, ‘HELLO! I’m about to run, walk, meander or otherwise saunter for 5 kilometers, or 3.2 miles, I am not a pack mule, some of this has GOT TO GO!’

With nowhere else to put my t-shirt I had the brilliant idea of shoving it down the front of my pants. Yeah, why not shove a mass of material into the part of my body that already has too much bulk?!

As usual, a brilliant idea.

So, there I am, closing in on the finish line, just one more stinkin’ kilometer to go when I strike up a conversation with these two kindly (I thought!) older ladies. They talked about their kids, I talked about mine, then the one closest to me says, “and I see you’re workin’ on another one right now!” glancing at my gut.


I said, “no, I just couldn’t think of anywhere else to put the t-shirt they gave me!” Then she says, “Oh, I was about to give you credit for something you didn’t deserve credit for!”

Okay, despite the fact that you ended that insult with a preposition....

Well, nothing makes a fat girl run like a put-down, so I took that as my cue to pick up the pace. After all, the finish line was looming and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna WALK over the finish line!

Here is a list of some of the people who passed me during the race:

1) Small children
2) Little old ladies with perfectly coiffed hair and handbags
3) All of the wheelchair race participants
4) The guy with 1 ½ legs and the cool prosthetic
5) Visually impaired runners with service dogs

I finished in an unimpressive and snail-worthy 55 minutes. I glanced behind me just as I crossed the finish line and saw Molasses closing in.