So, anyway! I did my 5K! And I lived to tell you about it!
First off, a big thank-you to Indiana Dairy, who shared some race entries with local bloggers. I was happy to grab the opportunity, knowing I wanted to start taking better care of myself.
Confession: I’m not a runner. I’ve had bothersome knees since high school, and try to be kind to them (hence the swimming lessons and the closet full of Birkenstocks and Danskos). Plus, I’ve never seen what’s so fun about running. Most of us have been walking and running since toddlerhood, so, like, what’s the challenge? I prefer activities that also include an extra step for your brain. Like swimming: don’t drown. Or biking: don’t fall off. Or Zumba: try to follow along and not look stupid.
Andy, however, IS a runner. He ran track and cross country in high school, and is actually somewhere on the Monon in his Dieter-looking running tights right now as I type this. Whenever I’m all, “What’s the point? How is it fun to go, ‘well, I’m going to run in this straight line, and THEN I’m going to turn around and run back in the EXACT SAME straight line’?” he launches into lectures about pushing your body, and runner’s highs, and feelings of accomplishment, etc. And I just smile and nod and wonder if it would look rude if I slipped off to grab another Diet Coke.
So I was actually pretty excited to test out Runners World for a day, to see what it’s like for Andy, although from a walker’s perspective. Plus, alcohol at the finish line! I could walk three miles for that!
We arrived at Mallow Run Winery to a long line of cars and tons of people milling around. Andy started talking about how fun races are, how the crowds are fun and encouraging. I could start to see where he was coming from. I pinned on my number, and felt like an Official Athletic Person.
And then I headed to the back of the line, with my fellow slowpokes, and waited for the race to start. And waited.
And waited. Finally, the crowds all made it past the starting line and we were off.
We started walking/running through the country, with race volunteers telling us “stay to the right, please!” Why was that? Oh, because the folks running the five-mile race were ALREADY HEADING BACK TO THE FINISH LINE.
Here’s where I could understand Andy’s comments about races being a fun, positive environment. The slow crowd cheered for the five-milers as they sped by and encouraged them to keep going.
We kept walking and walking. Being in such a large group it was hard to maneuver at times; I’d have to slow down my pace and then speed up or start running to get around a group. And my competitiveness kicked in. I’d think, oh, I HAVE to beat these people walking in jeans, or that elderly couple holding hands, or that little kid, or that service dog.
Finally we were down to the last half-mile or so. Knowing it was the home stretch I decided to run it. One short jog later and victory was mine!
I proudly claimed my glass of wine, and enjoyed it in the vineyard while Henry and Eleanor ran up and down the rows yelling, “GRAPES! GRAPES!”
I would have liked to stay and enjoy the music and atmosphere, but the kiddos were getting restless. On a whim, we decided to use a Groupon to a local arcade since we were already on the southside.
Wait, what do you mean you’re not supposed to follow up a 5K with an all-you-can-eat buffet?
And how’d I do, you’re wondering? Behold your 889th-place finisher!
I finished just ahead of a seven-year-old, so HA. I DID beat that little kid.
So overall, first 5K experience = positive. Am I going to turn into an avid walker or runner? No, probably not. I see Andy go through his race training, and I just don’t get the appeal. But I DO get the appeal of exercising in a large group in a fun, supportive atmosphere, and could see working it into my fitness routine. Which is why there’s a Drumstick Dash registration on the kitchen table, waiting for me to fill it out. Maybe I’ll see you there? I’ll be the one in the back of the line, hoping for another top-thousand finish.