Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Racing into Summer?

It's always a delightful dilemma, how to mark the unofficial kickoff of Summer. Of course, there are the obvious attractions, such as the pool opening for the season. Oh wait, it was 50* and windy for most of the weekend, so just kidding on that one. (Did you enjoy your little joke, Mother Nature? Ha ha, very funny. Can we at least have Spring back now?) If you're Derek, nothing quite says "3-day vacation" like dressing up, attending services at a nearby temple, and celebrating yet another friend's Bar Mitzvah. (His fourth such affair, for those counting. And I've just gotta ask: Isn't everyone 13 yet? Seriously?) The rest of us got to hang around in lounge clothes and relax...and enjoy warm-weather treats like iced tea, watermelon and strawberries--it's not exactly sun, swimming, and...scorching things on the grill, but we made it work.

And then, finally, it was time for the 5K race I signed us up for, what feels like a million years ago. (But was probably a couple of months. Yes, "Impatient" is, in fact, my middle name...) It would be the first time we would all participate as a family, so that was pretty exciting...also the fact that it was actually held in our hometown, so we drove, oh, approximately 3 minutes to get there (allowing the all important pre-race factor: MORE SLEEP). Believe it or not, this was also my very first race, e-v-e-r. I can hear you protesting, "But, that's impossible! You started running when you were 15!" Yes, that is completely true...but I've always staunchly protested the fact that they hold these events First. Thing. In. The. Morning. Not only am I so very, very much NOT an a.m. person...I loathe exercising right after I wake up. But in the spirit of Team WestEnders, I made an exception. Honestly, I didn't have lofty expectations for this, my first foray into official 5K...dom. I just wanted to finish, and maybe not be too, too slow. (You know, avoid the whole stigma of "last person limping across the Finish Line". Like I said, I didn't set the bar very high...)

Husband had already determined that he would monitor Riley, who as the least experienced runner needed some guidance in pacing himself. Derek--he of the 7-minute mile--we expected to take off immediately, disappear into the pack, and meet up with us again at the end. Here's what actually happened: my feet hit the pavement and did what they always do, which is fall into my ingrained, natural rhythm that requires no input whatsoever on my part...I was in my zone...and I felt shockingly good. (Especially for 8:00)! In fact, I turned to comment on this to my family, and found that we had already been separated by the crowd. I could see them behind me; however, they were all in a bunch and seemed content to stick together, so I gave a mental shrug and continued on my way. And then the most surprising and amusing thing happened--I began...passing people. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not by any means implying I'm fast...I guess it just never occurred to me that of course, one or two people in the big wide world might prefer to run even slower than I do. (Also, not that I have a competitive streak, or anything...but I might have heard the theme from Rocky in my head when I--politely, of course--breezed past someone...just sayin'...)

And I've gotta admit, even though it was freakin' early for this sort of exertion, I enjoyed myself. (Okay, maybe not the last half-mile, when I was honestly more pooped than peppy, but in general...) Just by coincidence, I approached the Finish Line alone...where all of the well-wishers standing around waiting for their own loved ones apparently felt so overcome with good cheer that they shouted for any and all runners completing the homestretch. And of course there were the Race Officials, manning the clocks and using microphones to deliver last-minute encouragement. Thus I concluded my very first 5K to the amplified cry of "Good job, lady in the pink jacket!" (Thankfully I managed to refrain from laughing, as tripping over the endline also would have been quite mortifying...) Then there was nothing left to do but grab some water, congratulate my boys...and hit up the free food...'cuz nothing says 'I just ran 3.1 miles and I deserves this' like mini-muffins, and energy drinks, and vegan chocolate chip cookies...etc...

So, we may not have planned a very traditional Memorial Day weekend, but it was still quite festive and fun. Bonus: we (well, basically "I") got to put off wearing a bathing suit for at least another week...pass me a tray of mini-muffins and let's keep this party going!

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