This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in my first ever 5K race. I know some of you may say, "What's the big deal about a 5K?" "Try doing a 10K or a half marathon, then write a friggin blog." You would be surprised to find out that the 5K race is a huge milestone for me. I would love to lie to you and tell you I'm this miraculous individual who made an unthinkable recovery after breaking both legs and was told by doctors that I would never be able to walk again. My situation was something of far more importance. I was a fat kid my friends.
I remember in gym class when we had to do the atrocious annual mile run. It was the day we all dreaded on the calendar, the day we tried to call in sick, or the day we wanted to drop out of school. But for some reason it always seemed impossible to avoid it. No matter what we did to run away from it, the mile run would catch us. Given my physical limitations, the run was never an easy feat for me. It involved a lot of Fatty McGee wheezing, walking, panting, and a facial expression that I had eaten too many prunes. Nevertheless, I knew one day I would be able to conquer the mile run with great ease.
Cut to today, I've been running consistently since my Junior year of college. My jogging consists of nothing too intense, two miles 3-4 times a week. I never felt the need to add any more kilometers to the work-out. In the last month or so, I've been stretching my runs to about 3 miles, with the aide of my lovely, vivacious, marathon runner GF. So it was now time to test my training and endurance. My GF and I, were going to be in Cleveland for a wedding and conveniently there was a 5K race the same weekend. So we signed up, along with her popz and her bro. The race started at 9am. I wasn't necessarily nervous by any means, but I was curious as to how I was going to perform.
I don't mean to make any of you nauseous, so I apologize beforehand. (I seem to write this in all my entries.) But I did not have my routine bathroom experience that morning, if you catch my drift. In other words, I did not drop the Cosby kids off at the pool. And I'm used to dropping Vanessa, Denise, Theo, and sometimes even Rudy during my morning routine. We get to the facility where the run was starting at. And suddenly I felt some small eruptions in the stomach area. I didn't know if it was nerves, or if I really had to use the restroom. We checked in and the eruptions were not getting any better. I thought about just waiting till after the run, but at the same time I didn't want to have to stop during the middle of the race and not be able to finish it. The other problem was that the race was going to start in the next few minutes. So I couldn't risk the race starting and then here I am bursting out of the bathroom with my pants around my ankles, yelling "Wait! Wait for me!", and tripping over myself. I quickly made the executive decision to just use the restroom now and try and be as quick as possible. Mission accomplished! The Cosby Kids were dropped off at the pool, Theo did a cannonball, and we were ready to roll!
It's time for the race to start. I line up with the other runners, who are mostly middle-aged men and women. A handful of younger people and some elderly people. The gun goes off and here we go! My GF and have nice pace going. We're not going too fast, but not too slow. Her popz takes off and gets way ahead of us. (Apparently he runs races often and fast) A few minutes into the race, her bro has a little trouble keeping us with us. I know the nice thing to do is to stay with him, but this was not a war. It was a race, where you could leave men behind. I look about 100 feet ahead of us and see these two short, stocky, fire hydrant shaped women in front of us. They look like they are running pretty slow, but they are a pretty big distance in front of us. I turned to my GF and said to her, "We gotta pass them." We did not do it right away, our plan was to pace ourselves. I wasn't worried about not being able to finish the race or something like that, but at the same time I didn't want to burn myself out too early. We hit the 1st mile checkpoint and the two fire hydrants are still in front of us chugging along. They appear to be experienced and they knew how to pace themselves. But I still wasn't going to let them beat me.
We hit the 2nd mile and they're still ahead of us. I turned to my GF and gave a look like, "Let's Do It." We turned on the accelerators and headed toward the two female fire hydrants. They didn't even see it coming. They also probably didn't give a crap about us at the same time. Regardless, we passed them and it felt good. If the Cosby kids were still with me, I don't think I would've been able to pass them. We hit the 3rd mile check-point, I'm a little winded, but I know this is the time to turn it on even more. So I run the fastest that I could at that moment to the finish line. Even though I felt like I was running fast, I'm sure in reality I was going as fast as an elderly person on an electric scooter. Waiting at the finish line was my GF's popz, who had finished the race at very impressive 27 minute time. I finished at 30:30, with GF a few steps behind. The female fire hydrants finished a few minutes later. Mission accomplished.
I'm fully aware that my time was not that great. But to be a stocky kid growing up, struggling with the gym class mile run, participating in my first race, passing the fire hydrant runners... I was pleased with the performance. To make it even better, they had munchkin donuts and some water after the race. Which made the race even that more of importance to me. What can I say? I'm a simple man, with simple desires.