My friends, I stand…er, sit…before you today as a changed woman. I ran my first 5k on Sunday.
It was cool. Like I mentioned before, I signed up for the untimed*, non-competitive 5k run/walk because I was intimidated by the competitive runners.
I set my alarm for 6:00 p.m. that day because I am kind of dumb, but luckily my mom called around 7 a.m. to wish me luck and ask me why it sounded like I was still asleep. We made it into town with relatively little trouble and I left the husband, the baby, and my mom near CMU to make my way over to the start. I followed a few people who looked like they were participating and then suddenly came upon a mass of people in Schenley Park. I could tell from the timing chips on their shoes that they were there for the timed race and so walked over to Flagstaff where the tents and booths were set up. I wasn’t willing to admit that I had no idea what I was doing, so I just kept walking until I saw a sea of people walking toward Phipps and over the bridge. I shuffled into line with them and asked a few people around me, “Are you going to the untimed run/walk thingy?” “Um, I think so?” was the response that I kept getting. For some reason, I found it comforting to be moving slowly along toward an unknown destination with a bunch of people who were as clueless as I was. This might explain so much about my life.
Eventually we stopped just over the bridge near what I figured must be the closest we could get to the starting line. Right around the time that the wholly unnecessary blasting of “Runaround” by Blues Traveler was giving me the shakes, the crowd started moving slowly forward. “Great! The race must be starting! Or we’re moving toward our slaughter. Whatever! At least the Blues Traveler will end!” I thought.
I had been expecting a lot more joggers in the mix, but it turned out that the vast majority of the tens of thousands of people there were indeed intent on Walking for the Cure. Or, in some cases, Standing for the Cure. I had been taking baby steps for at least 10 minutes when I finally caught sight of the official starting line. My heart sank because I thought that I wouldn’t be able to run at all and that this, my first 5k, would end up being a total dud. I texted the husband that it looked like I might just be walking the whole thing. Then I saw a few people jogging along the side and decided to try to follow their lead. I walked sideways and then trotted for a few feet, but it was still so crowded that if I wanted to jog, I would have to do so on the side of hill. Since my goals for the day did not include breaking any ankles, I fell back in with the crowd, frustrated.
Around the time that we hit the .5 mile mark, the crowd was finally starting to thin out and there was enough room for me to jog without risking mangled feet. So, off I went.
And it was fun! I started to see other joggers, which was extremely encouraging. Whatever anxiety I had about being the slowest one disappeared and I allowed myself to just go with it. And the normal feeling of, “Ugh. Can’t wait for this to be over,” that I usually get when I’m jogging by myself never showed up.
I took a few walking breaks as there were a few hills that I was just not up for and sent the husband updates on my progress, right up to the finish line.
It took me about an hour and four minutes to finish, but I didn’t really care considering it took me so long just to get started.
The husband and the baby and my mom greeted me afterward and congratulated me. I felt legitimately proud of myself and resolved to do another one as soon as possible.
Since Sunday, I’ve been having some kind of extended celebration. That, coupled with a huge work event on Saturday, have me going into some kind of maintenance mode. I’m functioning on like the bare minimum level of adulthood. I’m going to work and getting the baby off to school, but I scoff at grocery shopping or cooking dinner or any of that bullshit. Last night, I felt totally justified in having a hoagie and some of that Jimmy Fallon potato chip ice cream for dinner. Then I got a gross stomachache and passed out in a food coma around 10 p.m. As for housekeeping…
That’s two empty milk cartons that are waiting to be rinsed out and put in the recycling. And some knives and shit. But, hey! The milk is (was) organic. That counts for something, right?
Tonight, after the baby’s baseball game, we’re running to the store to get cereal (and, uh, milk apparently) so that my child can have something to eat in the morning. Parenting, FTW. Maybe I’ll invest in some TRIPLE HEALTH ENGLISH MUFFINS.
Seriously, what’s triple health?
* Can we discuss the gross misuse of “un-” as a prefix? It’s not like the run/walk was timed and then that time stricken from the records. Unsweetened is another one. You don’t sweeten something and then take the sweetener out. Surely there is a better way to distinguish such things.