Stupid 5K. Stupid 5K. Stupid 5K.
That’s my running mantra, and I’m sticking to it. It keeps me going. Kind of.
Here’s the deal: A decade and a half ago, I was a casual runner. For a few years, at least. I’d run two to three miles a day, every-other-day. It cleared my head and I’d feel great afterward. I was fit and trim and all that. Pre-kids. It was a time when life revolved around work and my boyfriend (who became my husband) and friends and being healthy and looking forward to weekends. Pre-kids.
Now the kids are 10 and eight and I guess it’s time to think about heart-health. I mean, honestly, my shape is close to what it was, but I shudder to think what my cardiovascular health is. The ol’ heart doesn’t get much of a workout these days, other than stressing over the kids. And the husband. And work. But all that’s not getting me to my target heart rate the right way.
So a friend cornered me at dinner a few months ago and asked me to join her in a 5K in April. The glass of wine I had lowered my defenses, so I mumbled, “Okay, I guess.” Before I’d made it home that night she’d emailed me a “training schedule” to help me prepare for it.
Oh, come on. A 12-week training schedule? I looked it over, and mentally calculated, based upon a brief exercise spell I’d undertaken the previous spring, that I could knock off six weeks. I mean, 5K is what? Three miles and change? I’ve done that. Fifteen years ago, but I’ve done that.
So this week the weather is gorgeous, and the 5K is sneaking up on me. I finally decided to commence my “training.”
Ouch. I don’t ever recall feeling each and every muscle in my ankles, shins and thighs when I run jog walk really quickly. It used to be my ability to breathe that gave out before the ability of my limbs to support me. What gives (other than my legs)?
Oh how I wish I hadn’t scoffed at that 12-week schedule. Yeah, I should have ventured to the gym a few times instead of hanging out in my robe and drinking coffee while working on my laptop all these winter months.
I’m a mom on a mission now, motivated by sheer embarrassment. While I’ve already confessed to my friend that my training has been woefully inadequate thus far, and told her that she is free to leave me at the starting line, my kids are planning to go to the race to cheer me on. I don’t want them to see me walking the entire distance, or coming in dead-last.
But as I plod over hills and stinky valley (it’s fertilizing season in my neck of the woods) uttering my new mantra as I train like mad, a NEW strategy is coming to mind. Maybe I’ll enter my kids in the race, too (after all, it is a fundraiser). Then I’ll have to go at a slower speed to keep pace with them. ’Cause that’s the noble, Good Mom thing to do.
And that takes even fewer than six weeks’ training.