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Monday, September 20, 2010

I Think I Can!

The art of track and field has its roots in ancient Greece and was introduced to the United States in the 1860’s. However, some historians believe that it originated even farther back with the Australopithecines participating in competitive foot races with their pet wooly mammoths. Modern scientists believe there is a 97 percent chance that I made some of this up.

What I do know to be true is that I jumped on the band wagon a few months ago, not because I enjoyed it, but rather because it is a really effective means of weight loss. Slowly and overtime I have increased my distance, speed, and affection for the ancient sport. This past weekend, I am proud to say, I participated in my very first 5K run, called the South Nash Dash.

I was a little nervous because my goal was to run the entire thing. No walking. As the race began, the crowd of runners thinned out with the zero percent body fat contestants leaving everyone else in a cloud of dust. “That’s ok,” I told myself. “I’m the tortoise. They’re the hare. I’m the tortoise. They’re the hare.” I kept on trucking. Surprisingly, some real lightweights stopped to walk. We weren’t even to the first mile marker at that point, but that was fine with me. It made me look better. “That’s right,” I thought. I’m Suzy Q. better than you.” It was about that time when a lady smoked past me. She was moving down the road like a cheetah chasing something that a cheetah would chase, a duck I guess, all the while pushing what appeared to be a three year old in a stroller. It was a little disheartening, but that was ok. Her kid would need a snack or a juice cup at some point. I would pass her then. “I’m the tortoise. She’s the hare.”

I spotted a couple of obese people jogging slowly. “Perfect! Someone I could run alongside.” Slow was the key. I kept on trucking. However, at some point my husky partners fell behind, and before I knew it, I was well past the halfway mark. The downhill that I had enjoyed in the first half of the race had a vicious other side to it, and I began to question my abilities. “Would it be so horrible if I walked a little?” It was about that time when I turned the corner and saw my family and friends standing at the finish line. It was too late to walk then. Everyone was watching. So, at my tortoise pace I finally finished. Exhausted and exhilarated, I had finished the race, achieved my goal of running the whole thing, and completely smoked that lady in the knee brace.

My official time was thirty three minutes and some change, and I enjoyed a little cooling off while waiting for everyone else to finish. The awards ceremony came around and, as it turned out, I didn’t finish first, second, or third. I did, however, come in first in the “Coolest Running Shoes” category, and second in the “Thirty to Thirty-one Year Old Female, Part-time Writer” category. It’s a more popular category than you might think. Had they given me the microphone, I would’ve thanked God, the Academy, and the double shot caramel macchiato that gave me the energy I needed to finish. I would also like to thank those who wished me well and/or came out to watch me jog. You probably had better things to do, like sleeping past 7am, but I am very grateful for your support. Keep on trucking.

Sincerely,
The Tortoise