Do you want a "Shrinking my Butt" button for your blog? Congrats! It shall be yours!
Would you please follow me? We won't get anywhere soon, but I promise we will have fun on the way!
The Great Clothing Exchange
Check out Hillary at her fantastic blog!
Saturday, November 20
Memoirs of How I Survived the Turkey Tumbler 5K
If my mother (Margaret the Saint) taught me anything at all, it is this:
The lessons you learn the best are the ones you learn by making mistakes.
She also taught me that seldom is the “truth” the whole story.
Like when my Bootcamp buddy Alyson suggested we run a 5K together. She said "5K". Little did I know there are 2 words you can add to 5K that turn it into something else entirely.
“CROSS COUNTRY” 5K.
To give you an analogy, it would be like me telling someone “I get a little exercise at bootcamp.” When in reality, I am usually left panting in a pool of my own sweat and pride by the end.
Today, I learned the definition of CROSS COUNTRY. The hard way. Because apparently, there is no other way that I learn things.
The morning started out with nervous jitters. I know I can run 4 miles on my treadmill. But that is in bubble world, where I see exactly how far I have gone, know exactly how fast I am going, and am able to strip to my skivvies if the urge strikes. That’s a lot of variables to try and overcome while running in a group of others on a course you know nothing about, on a cold foggy morning!
I drank my obligatory cup of coffee, drank my protein shake, and took my advil. I updated my facebook, sat on the couch, and mentally prepared myself for the 5K ahead. I wasn’t being cocky about it, just kept repeating the prayer, “Don’t let me make a fool of myself. Not today, God. PLEASE!” (I pray that lots of days…)
As I got dressed, I remembered the properties of layering. You can always take clothes off, but you can’t put more on. So I started with my foundations for running- my Enell bra, full on briefs, my “I have no bladder control” pad, and the mother of all running pants, courtesy of the Fila Body Toning System. Checking the weather channel, I added 2 pairs of socks, an exercise tank, a short sleeve moisture wicking shirt, and then (of course) my Incredible Shrinking Woman shirt. I also grabbed gloves, a hoodie, my fanny pack, and my MP3 player.
I went outside where the fog was pretty heavy, and remembered I had neglected to fill up my gas tank in the van. So I decided to take Zippy the Wondercar (Matt’s 94 old ford escort we paid a penny for) instead. Trying to find the wipers, I pushed and pulled a lot of levers, until the wipers came on and removed the foggy moisture.
Driving up to the race, I noticed that there were a lot of people wandering around. Not as many as the Shamwreck Run, but still, for lil’ Danville, there were quite a few. And I knew some folks. But first I had to get signed in. And that’s where the trouble began.
It seems that my online registration for the Turkey Tumbler wasn’t on the list. My name wasn’t there. Undeterred to let a silly thing like that stop me from 5K domination, I started going through my emails on my phone, looking for proof that I had already paid. Of course, due to a bazillion undeleted emails in my box and poor signal, I couldn’t find the email in question. So there I am, promising that I paid, letting them know I would resend the email when I got home, and could I pretty please have a running bib? They gave me one, and I had Alyson pin it on my back.
Then we waited. Me and Alyson and her husband, Preacher Joel. We talked, laughed, and while the fog lifted a bit, I couldn’t help but notice that God was neglecting to warm things up. While my top half was toasty, my rear was quite the opposite. I had Preacher Joel take a pre-race picture of me and Alyson...
then we headed over to the start line.
Meanwhile, I bumped into my longtime friends, the Palmer family. All of them- mom, dad, 2 daughters, and 2 grandkids were all running the 5K. Maridale (the mom) casually mentioned how diverse the track was, and that the part through the woods was really pretty!
HUH? WOODS? (You may recall that the woods and me do NOT get along)
I asked her meekly “Is the route hilly?”
Maridale, a very seasoned runner with lots of full on marathons under her tiny belt, said “No, it’s not bad at all!” At that point I was becoming aware that this 5K wasn’t going to be like huffing out 4 miles on my treadmill at home. It would be something else indeed…
We got to the back of the crowd, and got ready. I reached into my fanny pack for my gum. I ALWAYS run (and exercise in general) with gum. It helps take my mind off the hard work I am about to encounter. I found wrappers, but no gum. The munchkins I reside with are notorious for helping themselves to Mama’s gum stash.
That’s when I started to panic.
AND THEY’RE OFF!!!
The race began, I was still searching for gum, feeling the wrappers for potential ABC (Already Been Chewed) gum the kids or I had left behind, and I still didn’t have my MP3 player going. Everything was all wrong! And yet, I had to start running.
With my hands still digging in my fanny pack, I started out with a slow and steady stride. I finally got my earbuds in for my music, and decided- while it was a minor inconvenience to be sans gum, I’d make it just fine. I knew I could do this. It was just going to feel longer than normal.
Up and down. Round and round the track wove. Around parking lots, baseball fields, wet grassy stretches, and I was doing pretty well. Until we came to the tree covered woodlands.
And my heart skipped a beat.
I have only been in the woods ONE time since we were stranded out there with the kids (if you haven’t read that story yet, you should. It’s worth it), and the one time I went was with the security of my big brother- who rivals Chuck Norris in my head. Yet God has been drawing me out of my fears this week- making me face them, one right after another, and it’s pretty much been nonstop for the last 5 days. Apparently, today would be another notch in my bedpost of fears faced.
Besides, I was in a GROUP of people, it was morning, and I had my iphone in my fannypack. Chances are if I got lost, Alyson and Preacher Joel would come looking for me. They both know I HATE the woods.
So I ventured in.
And my goal was to run out of it as fast as I could. Get in, get out, bada bing, bada boom. The girl running in front of me however, did not share the same sentiment. And she was one of those “wide runners.” I don’t mean fat. She was pretty small, prolly a 7-8 if she had extreme water retention. No, I mean she took more than her fair share of the path. (I bet she’s a bed hog) I couldn’t really get around her. And she jogged really really slow.
I decided to use this time to regroup. Focus on things other than the “beauty of nature.” (I prefer the beauty of my couch and Netflix) I turned up my music, and followed in a leisurely jog. It felt like hours in the woods. It was only about 10 minutes, but I am hesitant to dismiss the possibility of a glitch in the time space continuum.
Up and down, round and round. Leafy covered paths and trees galore.
Yippee. (fingers dripping with sarcasm as I write that.)
Out of the woods at last, I passed little miss “I’m here for the fun of running slowly” and started cooking. One problem, though: I need gum. It helps keep me from getting thirsty, and I keep my stride in line with my chewing. I needed gum. And I had none.
I started asking others “Do you have gum?” and they all looked at me like I was an alien. Who was this crazy woman (her shirt declaring she was incredible AND shrinking) asking for gum in the middle of a Cross Country 5K?
No one had any, and I started considering my options. Desperately, I might add. I could pick up a twig and chew it, but if I fell- not improbable- I’d cause serious damage. I could suck on a rock, but sometimes I breathe too deep and accidentally swallow things. That wouldn’t do with a rock. I momentarily considered digging for gold in my nose and chewing a booger, but there were too many people around me, and that would be uncouth. I finally settled chewing on “pretend gum,” which was much more imaginative anyway.
Up and down, round and round. CROSS COUNTRY is miserable for the likes of me.
Alyson was eons ahead of me, having successfully avoided the time warp I experienced in the woods. Preacher Joel was just enjoying the run, alternating between walking and running. Mostly running. I walked/jogged with him a bit, and finally… there it was.
THE FINISH LINE.
But first I had to conquer one last hill. Preacher Joel said “Power through this. Push up that hill! They will see you running to the finish line!”
So me and my imaginary gum shot out like a very exhausted novice runner on her first cross country 5K lightening bolt. I summoned every ounce of energy I had left, and ran like mad. And as I got to the blessed end, I shouted out (to the guy yelling out the times of all the runners as they passed) “JUST DON’T SAY AN HOUR OR MORE. LIE TO ME!”
But he said “You are way under an hour! 41 minutes and 53 seconds! Good job!”
And that wasn’t a lie. WOW.
So Alyson and I, drinking Gatorade by the unattended trophy table, went ahead and awarded ourselves with some turkey trophies. Preacher Joel snapped some pics of our illustrious (and totally bogus) honors.
(Don't worry, we put the trophies back when we were done)
As I chatted with a few more folks, still amazed by my time (and doing spontaneous happy dances to celebrate my victory), I headed back to Zippy the Wonder Car. Remember all those levers I messed with to get the wipers on? I had accidentally turned the headlights on and didn't have a clue they were on while I was running. Zippy was as dead as a doornail.
You can’t win them all, I suppose…
But at 41 minutes and 53 seconds (you may recall on this week’s previous video, I ran a 5k in 45 minutes 45 seconds, so I was WAY faster today, and that was on a Cross Country course!), I already had my win for the day.
I guess I was the day’s biggest Turkey after all.
Now, to start training for the Illinois half marathon in April with the Palmers…