Just kidding. I ran a 5K. The Turkey Trot, to be exact. But it felt like a marathon.
I’ve talked about doing a 5K for years. I signed up for the Centreville Turkey Trot about a month ago but didn’t blog about it because I was 99.9% sure I wouldn’t follow through, so I decided to keep it on the D.L. But I started training in late October and by mid-November I was up to 2.5 miles and feeling pretty arrogant. This was also about the time I quit training, mostly because the weather got really cold and running in the cold makes me feel like my lungs are giving out on me, which isn’t a very pleasant feeling. Initially, it was going to be a group of about 15 of us, but our group got smaller and smaller by the day until it was just me, my sister, her fiance Mike, Mike’s sister and my friend Rasha (click here for an artistic introduction to Rasha). On the day of the race, it quickly became apparent that Mike’s sister and Rasha decided sleep sounded better than waking up at 6:30 am to run on a cold November morning, and if it hadn’t been for my sister and Mike I’m pretty sure I would have chosen to stay in bed too.
The morning of the Turkey Trot it was 25 degrees, easily the coldest day of the year so far. I wasn’t feeling very athletic and I hadn’t run for about two weeks, so I can’t say I had a good feeling about the whole thing. But honestly, who has a good feeling in 25 degrees at 6:30 in the morning on THANKSGIVING, a day during which you should be sleeping in and dreaming of turkey and stuffing? But I figured I’d run 2.5 miles before, so 3.1 miles wouldn’t be that big of a deal. And I’d already paid the $25 sign-up fee. So the whistle blew and off we were. Five minutes in I was feeling OK. Ten minutes in, the fastest runners were already headed back to the finish line! This did not make me feel OK. In fact, it made me feel like a running failure. Infinite, never-ending minutes later I was positive I was at least two-thirds done and then, in a moment of heart-breaking realization, I was greeted by a cheerful-looking MILE ONE! marker. But I looked around…there were still some (slow) runners around me, so I decided it wasn’t time to get discouraged just yet.
By minute 35 (there was a substantial slow down between mile one and mile two), I was really hoping that the race organizers had forgotten the MILE TWO! marker and my cold misery was finally coming to an end, but no such luck. A few seconds later, there it was, MILE TWO! cheerfully rooting me on. By this time, I was surrounded mostly by senior citizens, moms and dads pushing strollers and toddlers running back and forth, horsing around. There is nothing like humiliation to get you going. Two-year-olds were taking this thing lightly and STILL beating me, so I decided the time had come to speed up my pace. Like a woman on a mission, I zig-zagged around red-faced toddlers, happy families and old people in track suits. I lasted about 2.5 minutes before I felt like I was going to die and returned to my normal, turtle-like pace. By minute 40, I was the lone runner in a sea of leisurely walkers and I was becoming increasingly concerned that the FINISH line was nowhere in sight. But then, there it was, off in the distance…and at minute 47, I crossed the finish line. I know that 47 minutes might not exactly be a time to be proud of (over 15 minutes per mile, if you do the math), but I felt pretty good about myself.
I was in intense pain for the next three days and could barely walk, but I actually ran 3.1 miles without stopping! In my world, this is the equivalent of completing a triathlon. A miracle, really. I’m kind of feeling like an Olympic-level athlete right now.