The Torture of the 5K

They’re sitting on the table, taunting me. Three 5K sign-up forms, one addressed to me, one to Youngest Son, and one to Soldier Son. Obviously, Soldier Son won’t be running this Memorial Day. He’s in Iraq. And I have no intention of running. I swore that my last race was two summers ago, until the family guilted me into running that fall in the Turkey Trot since Soldier Son had just come home from basic training and decided to run his first race. Don’t get me wrong. I love the camaraderie and the community atmosphere of these things. I also love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I finish. It’s just all the torture in between I’m not too fond of.

I never expect to win these things. At first, I was happy just to be able to run across the finish line and not be dead last. In fact, my very first Turkey Trot several years ago, I came in dead center for women in my age group (11 out of 22) at a respectable but certainly not impressive 31.42 minutes. I trained hard with Youngest Son for the following Fourth of July race but only shaved about a half minute from my time. I must have peaked there, because no matter how hard I’ve trained, it’s been downhill from there and it’s not because I didn’t work at it. Youngest Son was an awesome trainer. He had me running hills with him that most people wouldn’t walk. He had me sprinting until my legs felt like rubber. He does great in these races. He usually places or comes pretty close. But, unlike me, he never gives up. When we’re training and it hurts too much, I’ll quit running and start walking for a while. He looks at me disappointedly and says, “Just tell yourself walking is not an option.” That works for him.¬† But for me, it’s one of two options–walk, or die.

Youngest Son is thinking about doing this Memorial Day Race so I’ll hang on to these sign-up sheets for a while. And I’ll be there, too. On the sidelines, cheering him on.

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