I recently read Born
to Run, by Christopher McDougall. In it he tells the stories of ultra-runners
who race for 50 to100 miles at a time. I was baffled and inspired by the feats
of human determination and endurance. Never one to bite off more than I can
chew, I am now considering signing up for a 10K race. However, it is dredging
up some mixed emotions based on my race history, and so I’m torn. Should I or
to regain some semblance of health was to take up running (I use the word
“running” loosely. The term “jogging” or even “shuffling” would also be
accurate). The “Couch to 5K Running Plan”
seemed to be a good starting point. I wasn’t exactly starting “on the couch,”
but the last time I had actually run, I was screaming at my run-away toddler as
he exited through the automatic doors at Wal-Mart.
time…of consistently laying down three miles of tennis shoe rubber on the treadmill,
I proudly signed up to run my first 5K.
to train, I set my sights on the next race. The 10K.
for prom, only instead of a dress, I bought black workout pants with a slimming
vertical line down the sides and a matching dry-fit shirt. I completed the
ensemble, of course, with new running shoes and accessorized with ear buds. I totally looked like a real runner!!
tiny dose of competition. The truth is, a person of my running caliber has no
business competing with anyone but herself. Not only that, my training plan had
labeled the “6 mile day” as “race day” so when I arrived at the starting line,
I had never in my life run six consecutive miles. So what possessed me to think
I was going to “compete,” I’ll never know.
least one I could keep pace with. Surely
I can beat the lady pushing the stroller. Sure, she looked super fit, but
she was pushing a stroller filled with 25 pounds of toddler!
at the front of the pack. I let Stroller Mama out of my sight for the moment,
made my way to the front and toed the starting line.
my ears and all those distracting wispy bangs slicked into a pony tail, I
settled into a race-pace shuffle. I felt light on my feet. I can do this. And then maybe 400 meters in, Stroller Mama passed
keep her in my sights.
compete against myself. Just finish the
around point. A lot of runners were on
their way back towards the start (which was now the finish) while I was still
pushing forward. Keep going, Shauna.
a snail’s pace. At last, I reached the turn-around point. Half done. Gotta do it all again.
one of the race coordinators drove his pick-up towards me. I was slightly
alarmed and a little embarrassed when he hollered, “You’re doin’ great!”
and each one in front of me as I passed it. My blistered feet begged me to ask
for a ride to the finish, but my pride silenced me.
was in sight. The time-clock had been taken down and the registration table
cleaned up. However, a boy with a stopwatch called out my time as I staggered
across the finish line.
smidge over an hour. Definitely the top of my game!
three finishers in each age group were being announced. I grabbed a bottle of
water and took sips between each gasping breath. The bagels and bananas were
pretty well picked over since most had already cooled down and eaten their
post-race breakfast. In fact, by the time I arrived I’m pretty sure Stroller Mama
had already collapsed the stroller, buckled the toddler in his car seat and
my sweaty red face, and willed my shaking legs to take me yet another distance
to the front. Still sweating, huffing and puffing, it was clear I had just finished.
no one could differentiate between a face flushed with embarrassment or one reddened
sense of accomplishment took its place. I
medal I have ever won.
Since I can only improve, I’m considering trying again.
Anyone with me?