I've been feeling an urge to run lately, but not an urge stronger than the desire to get 30 minutes more sleep. Yesterday I remembered that I was going to run a 5k July 21. I have 3 weeks. "Not a big deal," I explained to my husband. "I can already run 2 miles without stopping, so I just have to work up to a third mile." He asked what my time was the last time (the only time) I ran a 5k. My running time is of little consequence to me. As long as I'm not dead last, I will be happy just with going three miles without stopping to walk. But he's not the only person that has asked how fast I can run 3 miles. Do I look fast, people? I wear children's shoes; I move at children's speed.
Fresh and early this morning I went out for a run. As I laced my shoes I told myself, "This morning I will push myself. Instead of walking 4/10 mile, running 2 miles and walking 4/10, I will run the whole time."
I went outside.
"I will run most of the time."
I strode purposefully to the road.
"I really want to run, but I should warm up my muscles first. I'll just walk the first 4/10, then run the rest."
I stepped out on the pavement. I walked the magic 4/10 mile to the nearest stop sign and followed the traffic laws.
"Well, if the cars need to stop, I should too."
Then I turned south and began running. One mile, no stopping, to the next stop sign where I didn't stop but just turned around. Somewhere in the second mile, with pickup trucks (so many pick up trucks!) zooming past me, my chest began to hurt.
"I wonder if this means I should stop. I don't want to hurt myself. Although, if I collapsed on the side of the road, I bet that would show people how committed I am to being healthy. What would my [farmer] brother-in-law think if he saw my sweaty and crumpled form as he drove to feed his cattle? Would he stop? Would he know it was me? Would he be impressed?"
Because, you know, it's impressive to be so out of shape that a little exercise renders you unconscience.
I did not stop. In all my medical wisdom, I decided that the chest pains just meant that I needed to take deeper breaths. So I did. And I felt better.
I reached the original stop sign without collapsing.
"This is it. The final 4/10. I can do it. I can. Do. It. Oh look. I've stopped."
But I had gone 3 of the 4/10, and was almost in front of my house, so I didn't beat myself up about it.
When I got in the house, I checked the clock. And guess what? I ran roughly a 15 minute mile. I think I might have to change my mind about last place. Better last than dead, right?
I actually don't know what I mean by that. Probably that I don't plan on crumpling my sweaty form by the side of the road anytime soon.