It’s been two days. Two days since the Bear and I participated in The Legacy Run to End Family Violence. And I still hurt. My thighs ache and my shins burn. It’s a reminder that I’m out of shape and overweight. But we did it.
The run was Sunday with the 5k starting at 8:00am. It was only 8 degrees so I figured wearing a hoodie would be a good idea, I didn’t want to be cold. I’d forgotten what it was like to compete in a run and would later regret that decision.
The Bear and I didn’t stretch, hadn’t trained. Any time I wanted to work out she would resist and I’m no good at motivating myself to exercise or train on my own. So, there we were, standing around nervously. There were volunteers from a local yoga studio who had the runners do a bunch of warm ups, trying to pump us up.
As I did the lunges and the jumping jacks my body asked me what the hell we were doing. The Bear looked over at me with a look of worry and said that she was already tired. Oh man, this might be an unmitigated disaster, I thought.
The Bear wanted to run flat out, but I cautioned her that was a bad idea and reminded her that she had asthma (I had her puffer stashed in my fanny pack). We needed to pace ourselves with a combination of light jogging and walking or else we might die.
The run starts and there are those who take off like a flash, obviously looking to turn in their best times. I start off with a gentle jog, and the Bear follows suit. Within a couple of minutes, I’m gasping for air and my calves are revolting. We walk for a bit. We continue to jog and walk and by the end of the first kilometer the Bear is asking if we’re close to being finished.
I laugh at her and give her the bad news.
The sun is beating down on us and it’s now that I realize the mistake that I’ve made by wearing the hoodie. The Bear is in the same boat. I get heat rage really easily but I don’t want to wrestle with the fanny pack and tying the sweater around my waist, so I persevere and am grateful that I doubled up on my deodorant.
We settle into a nice routine, gasping for air and complaining about our legs. It’s comical, the Bear can be so funny. She’s asking Jesus to take the wheel and complaining about the underwear she’s worn. I was smart, I wore my granny panties, no slipping down the ass for this mama.
We hit the 2km mark and there’s a water station. We stop for a couple of seconds to gobble up the cool water and continue on our way. There are people running back already, people who are completing both the 5k and 10k. We give them polite smiles and encouragement and they do the same. We walk up the hills and jog the straightaways and the downhills.
Finally, we get to the turnaround spot and we high five the volunteers and make our way back. It’s a slow slog but the constant banter and humor keeps us going. My calves are screaming, and my shin splints are rearing their ugly heads. I’m sweating and my face is flushed. I’m playing scenarios of heart attacks in my head.
We finally get within view of the finish line and I’m relieved that it’s almost over. I’m thinking how proud I am of the Bear for completing her first 5k, how amazing it will be to cross the finish line together. And then, with 400 meters left, she looks at me and takes off. Full-on running. She crosses the finish line to cheers from the crowd, some of them my coworkers.
I plod along and finally finish. A volunteer hands me a medal and I remember how awesome it feels to finish a run. I could do more of this. I need to do more of this. We weren’t far off the times that I used to post when I was running 5k’s on a regular basis. I need to start jogging again.
The Bear is beaming with pride at her medal, and I tell her how much fun I had with her. This was a good bonding experience, good quality time. In the parking lot we take selfies with our medals and tear off our hoodies, overheating and sweating like crazy.
We have a Mud Girl run at the end of August and the way my body feels today, days after the run, is a real reminder that the Bear and I need to up our game and get training because that is going to be a more physical event. I’m already sure that my sister and my mom, who exercise on a regular basis (and I mean hardcore exercising), are going to leave us in the dust….er…mud.
As I look at my flab and rolls in the mirror, always slightly disgusted, I have a small sense of pride as well. It’s a foreign feeling and I like it. In the words of Glennon Doyle, ‘We can do hard things.’.