An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Saturday, April 23, 2016

In which I survive my first 5K

Earlier this week a good friend of mine called and asked if I wanted to go to Aiken, SC and participate in a 5K Fun Run in honor of Earth Day.

Now, I am not a runner, but sometimes I like to do interval training by alternating speed walking and jogging (although, if I'm being honest, the speed walking intervals are longer than the jogging ones).

Since I've always wanted to do a 5K (but never had the courage to do so), and since this was billed as a Fun Run, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and face my insecurities. My friend registered us online and we came up with a game plan: we would concentrate on the FUN part and do what we wanted to with the RUN part.

Except, when we signed in this morning and received our Earth Day t-shirts the organizers mentioned obstacles, balance beams, hills , and forest trails.


Except, there were some people - a LOT of people - who missed the memo on the FUN part and were clearly there for the RUN part.

Party poopers, the lot of them.

When we lined up at the starting line, several people around us started stretching and running in place and I began to feel intimidated. Like, really intimidated as in ... what in the heck did I get myself into?

Evidently we needed another game plan. In order to save face, we decided to run at the start of the race, and once we got beyond (way beyond!) the cameras we would then set our own pace.

And that's what we did. We ran the first three blocks in downtown Aiken, turned a corner, and resorted to speed walking which - and let me be perfectly clear - was not a leisurely stroll. We were hoofing it through the woods, over logs, across muddy paths, up hills and down.

And because my boys will inevitably ask, let me be clear about something else: we were NOT at the back of the pack; in fact, we even passed TWO people.

Then, with two blocks to go we started running again, mainly because we could see the flashing police lights and hear the cheering cheerleaders and we got excited. We crossed that finish line and, I'm not going to lie, boy did it feel good.

We also got medals.

I know, I know. EVERYONE got a medal. It was a PARTICIPATION medal.

But you know what? I'm kind of proud of that medal.

Yes, I'm sweaty.
Yes, I'm a mess.
But I just did a 5K.
And that's something.

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