It started as a Facebook event. It was called Run for Boston 5K and my youngest daugther, Janessa, was planning to run it. I’m not a runner. Never have been. Okay, there was one season of track and field in junior high but that was it. Janessa is taking a class called “Half Marathon” in which she is training to run a race in Des Moines referred to as the “Dam to Dam”. I don’t get runners. At all. I think they are a little off in the head.
With that being said, Janessa looked at me and said, “You should come do it mom.”
“I don’t run,” I reminded her. “Ever.”
“So walk it. It’s for a good cause.” She had me there. The money being raised was going to help families most drastically effected by the Boston Marathon Bombing. (It was put together in just 7 days which is kind of crazy. They were hoping to get at least 25 participants. They got SEVERAL MORE than that!!)
“Okay. I can do that.”
There is some information you need to have to fully understand what a ridiculous idea that was! I am not an athlete. At all. I’m in my mid-40’s, not in the best physical shape and am carrying around more weight than is healthy and it’s not like I walk for exercise. As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also prone to shin splints.
When we arrived to register (just a $10 fee!) it was cloudy and it did rain for a bit before the event got started. So there we were – a little wet and a touch chilly. And I was quietly asking myself what on earth I was doing participating in this event!
Have I mentioned I’m not a runner?
So there I was, looking at all these other crazy, dedicated runners (one of whom crossed the finish line in Boston 20 minutes before the first explosion!) and feeling more than a little underqualified. But I had told people I was doing this so I couldn’t back out now!
7:00 p.m. arrived and we were off. I was about 10 steps into the event- not even out of the parking lot of the stadium – when I felt the first twinge of shin splints. Wonderful. But I kept walking. Had my MP3 playing in my ear and the music provided a small – very small – distraction. Just when I was on my way to a world class pity party regarding the shin splints, I remembered why I was walking. And I was suddenly grateful for having two legs in which I could feel the pain of shin splints. Some of those I was walking in honor of can’t say that.
It didn’t take me long to get passed by literally every one. There I was, in the back of the pack. WELL behind the other participants. At one point, everyone had rounded a corner and I couldn’t see anyone directly ahead of me. Once again, the whiny ‘why am I doing this?’ voice tried to start up in my head. But I reminded myself again why I was walking. There are those who lost a loved one FOREVER so losing sight of the other participants was nothing, really.
I won’t lie – at least once during the first couple of miles I had my cell phone in my hand to call my husband and tell him where to come pick me up. Then I got to one of the last corners (all of which were manned by volunteers to make sure no one got lost!) and there was a family of four standing there, cheering everyone one. The dad looked at me and said, “Just one more mile. You’re doing great! Keep it up! Hoping it doesn’t start to rain again.”
Without thinking, I thanked him and said, “In light of why I’m walking, getting wet really isn’t that big a deal.” He chuckled and said, “I guess that’s true.”
That ‘just one more mile’ statement provided me with all the motivation I needed. I was actually going to do this!!! I was going to complete a 5K!! I checked my phone for the time and saw a text message from my daughter (who had definitely completed) that said, “I love you mom! Keep going!”
Not gonna lie – that brought a tear to my eye! And I did it. I finished. I was WAAAAAAYYYYY behind the rest of the participants but I finished in 57 minutes. Not bad for an out of shape old lady!
My daughter was there with friends to cheer my last few steps (and to take pictures cuz she loves me like that!) and much to my own surprise, I crossed the finish line. I walked a 5K. My $10 entry fee wsn’t a huge amount. But I heard that there were a couple hundred people involved, each of whom paid $10. You do the math!
My shins are in serious pain, I’m walking weird because of that, and I’m more than a little worried that I may have difficulty getting around tomorrow. But I don’t regret doing it. Not for a moment.