Guys – I’m not even sure how to begin to tell you about the 5k Stadium Challenge that I participated in last night. The story does not show my better side; I am a buffoon, a wolf in nurturer’s clothing, a turncoat, shameless.
Remember this? It says that it’s a run/walk – the slash indicates that you could either run OR walk. Because of the logistics of dinner and having both Dear Hubby and my sister-in-law with me, I thought the earliest time would be the best. Excellent. I’m in. Fast forward to last night, and I should have known something was up because it was a torrential downpour, delaying the 7pm start time to 7:20pm.
Once the rain started to lighten up a bit, the announcements began alerting us that the 7pm Fun Walk would begin soon.
“Um, wait. What??”
“Yea, that’s right. 7pm is for walkers. No running or you’ll look like a jerk.”
“Can I just go with the 7:30 crowd?”
“Of course not.”
So what was a gal to do? I paid my money, dragged my family all the way out to the stadium IN THE RAIN, and I wasn’t about to waste a perfectly good race outfit that I’d saved up all week so it would be clean for the race. So I sucked it up and joined the other walkers who consisted of mothers with strollers and small children and the older generation whose median age was 78. Thankfully, there were still those participants who had so much running gear on that they looked like an inside-out Inspector Gadget.
Once the cannon went off (Yes, a cannon for a 3.1 mile WALK) I decided to put my experience of mall walking with my dad to good use. Pump those arms! Long strides! It was fun for about 50 yards. Then I noticed the leader of the pack was an octogenarian with a DISCMAN! And he definitely had put a good 35 yards of space between himself and the front of the walking pack. In my mind, I wasn’t ok with this and kicked it up a notch.
Shameful thought #1: Defeat the old
As I tried to pass a few people I got pace-blocked by an insurgence of mothers with strollers that were far more tricked out than the cars on Pimp My Ride. I’m pretty sure they bought their tires at Sam’s Club. Even though I was wearing a hat, I tried to hide my eye rolling. Gotta get away from this garbage immediately!
Shameful thought #2: I hate mothers
Between the Stroller Brigade and George Burns up in the front, there was a splattering of children around the age of 8 or 10. Cute. But they were definitely running. The teacher in me said, “Aww that’s great! Good for them. 3 miles is a long run for kids this age. So proud!” My Olympic-style speed walking allowed me to pass them, and I was having a real struggle with my own conscious.
Maybe being out in front of the pack, not quite up to the old fella who married Anna Nicole Smith, isn’t right. Passing children? Come on. This IS a walk??? And then this happened:
Just after passing Larry King’s dad, taking the lead and feeling like a total mensch, I heard some footsteps and I suddenly felt better; someone else was keeping pace with me. It was a 10 year old boy with a Justin Bieber haircut. #YECK! He passed me. I forgave him and his mother for his haircut, smiled and thought, “Good for him. It’d be great if he won.”
“You’re doing great, Ma’am.”
I should be enrolled in mandatory counseling for going from zero to enraged by this simple comment. Maybe not get psychotic and vengeful towards a supportive comment by a child perhaps. NAW!
Shameful thought #3: Outrun this little kid, by A LOT!
So….I did. I caught up to him just before we made it to the Jaguars’ practice field and then EAT MY DUST! I put so much distance between us that I had time to stop and take some photos.
The course took us around the perimeter of the practice field, and then inside the stadium to where we ran up the ramp to all six levels. The first three levels were ok, and I appreciated that the incline wasn’t too devastating to my calves. At level four, I was starting to worry that Skippy would be catching up to me. Thankfully, the course took you from one side of the stadium to the other via Concession Row. It was a good heads up as to which side I’d prefer to get seats on for the Lions vs Jaguars game in November. After the brief siesta, add two more levels and the Great Relief: DOWNHILL!!!
Alone in all my glory, it dawned on me that I would probably be the first finisher…because I ran in a Fun Walk.
Could I really feel good about all the “Congratulations” AND “Keep up the good work” and “Lookin’ Good!” that I got from the volunteers around the stadium. No. Absolutely not. You RAN past strollers, children, and Moses. Then I got what I deserved as I was rounding the corner to complete the final stretch of the 5k inside the EverBank field: I was passed by the 7:45 race runners…three of them. I had a twenty-five minute head start and still didn’t finish first.
But I damn sure got my t-shirt and finishers medal.
I drowned my shame in carbs, fat, and mushrooms.