The last week of December, I decided that I would participate in the New Year’s 5K, and that sparked a new goal in me. I committed to walking as many 5Ks as were offered in my home town. I got up bright and early that cold January morning (16 degrees) and met with my friends at the starting line. We were all bundled up and ready to go. Slowly stretching and beginning to move, we probably resembled slugs in the garden. I was wearing jeans, my new hiking shoes, a t-shirt, a sweater, my weather resistant jacket, gloves, a scarf, and a head band. I was going to stay warm in that frigid temperature and I did. We completed that walk in just over an hour. I decided then and there that I would improve my time.
In February, we walked the Valentines 5K and had a blast. We wore pink and purple tutus with our purple Cancer Warrior sweatshirts to advertise our cause. The temperature was warmer and the route was the same. We increased our time by 10 minutes and went to watch a free movie at the old movie theater.
March came around, and I couldn’t find anyone to walk with me on the St Patrick’s color run. But, I had never seen let alone participated in a color run, so I signed up, wore my green pants and white Redneck Shindig t-shirt (another advertising opportunity), and showed up to the park for another fun adventure. We had a different route in a newer neighborhood. I stayed near the middle of the pack most of the way through, but when my leg started to go numb, I slowed down. I made it through the two color spots and let my students throw green and yellow corn starch on me. It was clumped on my arms and after a while it began to itch, but the experience was worth it. I came in 5 minutes faster than previously.
In April, there was a Rattle Snake Run, but I was sick with bronchitis for four weeks at that time and hadn’t been walking because of the coughing it caused. I wasn’t prepared for this anyway. I can only run about a block length at this time. But I was ready again in May.
Once again, I didn’t have any of my friends to walk with me. I almost talked myself out of going, but a short conversation with my husband had me changing my mind. I am the one who made the commitment to go to all the 5Ks I could, not my friends. So, if that meant that I would be doing these alone, that’s what I would do. I woke up that early morning to rain falling. It wasn’t too cold, but it was very wet. I had to decide how to dress so that I wouldn’t get cold or too hot. Leggings, a t-shirt, my trusty hiking shoes that went on more 5Ks than off roading, and the handy weather proof jacket worked out well. This path was another one that was new to me. I had set up this 5K location for the Redneck Shindig before, but I had never walked it. I learned a few things at this event. First, I know that our contestant fell a few years ago because the road along the drainage ditch is slicker than snot on a rainy day. I walked in the weeds and didn’t slip at all, but the people around me insisting on walking in the road, were all over the place and struggled staying upright. Second, by having the track reverse itself reduces cheating. For the Redneck Shindig, we have always had the contestants turn around at the half way point and return on the path they had taken. This particular 5K did not do that. Instead, they had us cut across the parking lot and repeat the path a second time. However, at the ¼ mark, I passed people who had stopped and were just standing around waiting. I didn’t know at the time what they were doing, but when I was crossing the parking lot the first time, some of the runners were coming in to complete their run. It was then that I figured out what the people were waiting for. They walked across the parking lot from the ¼ point to the starting point just ahead of me and collected their participation awards. I don’t walk these 5Ks for the awards, but I was still appalled at the gumption of these people. And third, if you are walking somewhere slick, find something to help you keep traction like the weeds.
I haven’t heard of a 5K in June, but I know of one in July, and I am ready to see if I can increase my time again. I didn’t the increase the time in the April 5K because I had been sick and I am having problems with my leg going numb, but I am still having fun. And I will do better eventually.