I don't run.
That's what I thought of myself. Just the way some people say, "I don't ski", I believed of myself that I don't run (unless in the presence of zombies, though I could be compelled to run toward chocolate).
Funny how we have to re-frame our beliefs about ourselves from time to time.
I still can't say, "I run," in the pure sense of the word. I hobble, sure. I do a very hoppy-walk, maybe, but you couldn't really call it running. Its more like a frazzled housewife stumbling across hot coals. My friends Danielle and Kathy don't seem to mind, though. Even though in a zombie invasion they could leave me in the dust as an entree, they let me set the pace when we have been out training.
On the 4th of July I "ran" (air quotes) my first 5K. We had been using the Couch2-5K phone app for training, but hadn't gotten to the end of the training guide before race day. I just told myself not to worry about it, because ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING I did in this race would be better than my efforts in the past. Still, I had only done 2 miles in one shot, and that was with some structured 90 second breaks. Oh, well! Too late now, it was go time.
We headed over to the park at about 20 minutes before the race was to start, but as we approached the school, a horn went off... ten minutes early! It was anticlimactic for sure, but all was not lost. We got close to the start and joined the crowd as it poured out into the street.
Now, because "I don't run", I have only ever heard about the mysterious responses the body has in these settings. There is a supposed adrenaline rush to speed you along your way. Ha. Yah, for like 30 seconds. It was no time at all before my body was protesting the running, and telling me I was supposed to still be in bed. "Hel-lo!!! Duh, it's a holiday!" my calves informed me.
About a century into the run some wise guy thought it would be keen to put up a "MILE 1" sign, and about four miles later a "MILE 2" sign. Not helpful. What the first sign actually said was, "Hey loser, you aren't even half way! Nanny-nanny!" and the next said, "Caution: 90 year old pushing a stroller passing you on the left".
My left leg grew heavy and achy. I could hear the voice of my friend Andrea who has MS, in my head saying, "It's hard, but I am good at doing hard things." I told myself that Danielle and Kathy thought I could do it (even if I didn't think so). I thought about laying on a radiology table as Dr. F. pushed tools through my blood clots and inflated balloons in my veins while I suppressed tears of intense pain. "This is easy compared to that," I told myself. I may say it too many times here, but I thought about the blessing to have been given this opportunity, and this time my tears were just pure joy.
There were, on occasion, perfect strangers who were calling out encouragement, and I kinda' wanted to hug them, even though it certainly couldn't have been for me. It was like they could hear the crazy lady in my head telling me to lay down in the gutter and cry.
"Keep going!" they said.
"You're not a runner!" insisted the crazy lady.
"You're doing it!!!" they smiled.
"Gutter!!!!" said Crazy.
"Go!" cheered my new best friends.
The last half mile of the run followed the 4th of July parade route, and was speckled with people who had surely been paid to line the way. Even though I felt embarrassed to be seen running in the light of day (all of my running-from-zombies takes place at night), I didn't care by that point. Besides, there were people in tutus passing me up, nobody cared about me.
Nobody, until right at the finish, where I saw my hubby running backwards with a camera, and the Littles and Middles yelling, "Yay, Mama!!! Go, Mama!!!"
"You did it, Dear!" Guy called, and I realized I was at the finish. Guy walked through the finish line and put his arms around me. Anybody looking would have seen us both in tears, and probably thought, "Geez, it's just a 5K, not a marathon!"
I guess that depends on how you look at it.
"... My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." -Corinthians 12:9