A few weeks ago Connor and I ran in our first 5K. Maybe I should say Connor ran his first 5k, while I merely finished. Yes, that feels more honest. When we signed up, I had these lofty dreams of impressing my runner child by completing this run with dignity and my head held high. Yeah, that didn't happen. We signed up with the uncles and Ms. Karen (who furthered shamed me by running the 10K). Earlier in the week, this incident happened. My knee was still shredded and prone to spontaneous bleeding and my training thus far had consisted of absolutely nothing. I had decided to following the training plan of "Just Wing It", so I was obviously not in peak physical condition. The scene was set for humiliation, but I was not going to let my oldest son down.
The run started out with a hill. Fantastic. We had agreed that in the likelihood of my inability to keep up, Uncle Aaron, armed with a black market inhaler from Mexico, would become Connor's running partner. I felt like on a 3.2 mile run, at least one adult needed to keep him in sight in case a random child predator decided to crash the course. You never know. I was left behind almost immediately. I also immediately wanted to quit, because I am pretty much a quitter, especially since my own kid, who I was there to teach a lesson on not quitting, wasn't even going to see if I did it or not! But I powered on alone. I kept up a very steady walk with occasional spurts of gentle running. I made sure I wasn't at the very last of the pack because I have watched Connor at enough of the runs to know how the person at the end of the group is treated. There is always a lot of yelling and cheering for the person that finishes last. That seems really sweet and encouraging except when you realize that the people generally finishing last are overcoming some kind of significant physical disability, or are in the 85+ age category, or are 9 months pregnant and trying to induce labor. They deserve those shouts of encouragement because they have truly accomplished something great often while overcoming tremendous hardships. I don't think I can consider being an out-of-shape fat chick who is ticked because she forgot her ear buds a disability worthy of having a finish line full of people cheering me on. How embarrassing.
I finally reached the turnaround and headed back to the finish line. At this point, there are now 10K runners passing me, but that didn't even phase me. I had been running next to this sweet older lady and she said, "Well this is humiliating, I can't believe they have already run twice as far and are passing us." I told her, "Hey, once my 5 year old lapped me I gave up all semblance of dignity." I think you could also probably infer our rate of speed by how easy it was to carry on in depth conversation : )
Finally! The finish line! There was my sweet boy waiting to cheer me on! I wasn't last after all and I was so relieved. Of course, he had already been done so long that he had time to eat 2 yogurts, a banana and an apple, but who cares? We did it! I was so proud of him, he finished 12th in his age group and was by far the youngest runner to place that high. As for me, well let's just say I did not finish anywhere close to 12th in any age category. I asked him when it was all said and done if he liked the shorter 1 mile races better or the long ones and he said, "The long ones, Mommy. That was easy peasy."
Ah yes, that was my exact thought as well, minus a few four letter words.
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