It’s official. Last week I registered for Disney’s Halloween 5K October 1st at Animal Kingdom. I’ve been considering visiting Walt Disney World that weekend for a long time because October 1st is the 40th Anniversary of the day Walt Disney World first opened. To make it more alluring, my children have a day and a half off of school the week leading up to the weekend of the 1st making it perfect timing for a quick family vacation. Then someone on Twitter told me about the 5K race…it was like it was meant to be.
Here’s the thing about me and running: I hate it. And honestly? The feeling is mutual. I still remember vividly all the times that I had to take the “Mile Run Test” in school as part of that national fitness test. What was that, by the way? Do we still make kids do that? I remember teacher’s pinching that fat on the back of my arms with calipers and timing to see how long I could hang from a bar without letting go. The only part of that test I enjoyed was the sit-up test because I often could do more sit-ups in a minute than any other girl in my class. There’s something to be said for playing the piano every day and what it can do for your core body strength.
But that mile run was the bane of my existence. In elementary school I hated that it took so much time out of my day. By junior high school my bigger issue was that it took me from a neatly put together teenager to a sweaty mess who then had to go through the remainder of the day feeling disgusting. That’s right. Our gym teacher didn’t allow us to shower after gym. We were lucky if we had five minutes to quickly change, taking time to tight roll our jeans at the ankles and re-spray our spiral permed hair, of course.
Then came my senior year, the last time I would ever have to run a mile, EVER. It was icy cold that morning and I cursed the ridiculous shorts and t-shirt I had to wear to run around the parking lot in boring, monotonous circles. I vowed to do the entire thing backward, but decided that was more effort than it was worth. I’d just jog the stupid mile and be done. Everything was fine except for the tightness in my chest. After wheezing my way through the next period class, someone decided to send me down the hill to the doctor’s office, which meant, by the way, that I was going to see my mom. It turns out that I had an undiagnosed case of exercise induced asthma brought on especially in extreme weather. There was never a clearer sign that I should never run again.
So what happened? I’m still not sure why I signed up voluntarily to run the Halloween 5K at Disney other than the fact that it’s been many, many years since I lettered in cheerleading (keep your snark to yourself) or won a trophy for being on the championship softball team. The idea of receiving an award for completing a physical task seemed kind of exciting. I mean, I pushed my daughter out in just two pushes, which I thought was downright impressive, but no one hung a medal around my neck for that one. I once unloaded over a ton of stone to create a parking space for my husband’s car, which is kind of amazing really considering I had given birth just a couple months before, but there’s no trophy in my home for that. I have a t-shirt from being on the championship softball team in college, but it was intramural and the Greek league. The other teams were probably still drunk the morning that we won, and I know for a fact that more than half the players in the league smoked a pack a day.
So here I am, needing to train for a 5K so that I don’t fly my family to Florida only to make a fool of myself by not completing the race in the time allowed. At the urging of my Mamavation Sistas, I began the Couch to 5K training program last week. The first day I was sure that I was going to die having hyperventilated in the July heat and humidity. Once doctor mom reminded me that there’s an inhaler in my medicine cabinet for a reason, day two promised to be significantly better. About halfway through my run I was cruising along during one of the 60 second jogging intervals when I heard something rustling in the trees and brush to my right. I hear a lot of noises as I run and walk through the regional park behind my house, and generally they turn out to be birds or other small animals. So imagine my surprise when a tiny fawn bolted from the groundcover and teetered across the jogging path just a foot in front of me. In fact, had I not stopped in my tracks, we would have collided. For a split second I stared at the fawn making its way up the hill on the other side of the path until it dawned on me that where there’s a baby, there’s a mom. And where there’s a baby in danger, there’s a mom on a mission.
It turns out that I can sprint. Fast.
It’s been a few days since my last day of training because my husband and I went away for a much needed and deserved tenth anniversary trip where I not only didn’t train for the 5K, but I also ate like a starving woman who had never heard the words appetizer and dessert before. So this week I have a lot of catching up to do not only to get ready for the Halloween 5K, but also to drop back down to the 15.5 pounds I was down when I left for my trip and then continue towards my goal of 20 pounds lost by mid-August. I know it’s an uphill run that I’m facing, but thanks to Mamavation, it’s a race that I now know well and I’m confident I’ll finish.