My 50th birthday had recently passed, and I wanted to make a change, something a little bigger than parting my hair on the opposite side.
I saw an ad for the Color Run pop up on my Facebook page. When a race bills itself as “The Happiest 5K on the Planet,” I want in.
“Less about your 10-minute-mile and more about having the time of your life,” the ad promised. Well, I liked the sound of that.
“Hey, this looks fun!” I exclaimed to Kevin. “I want to have the time of my life. Let’s do this!”
After the laughter died down, Kevin realized I was dead serious.
“You don’t run,” he wisely reminded me.
“It’s not that I can’t run. I just don’t like to run,” I explained. “But I think I’d like this. Look how colorful it is.”
Yeah, ‘cause that’s what makes running fun – powdered tempera paint thrown in your face.
But I like that the Color Run has no winners (and thus, no losers) because it’s an untimed race. I could even walk
if when I got too tired. This is so my speed. If nothing else, I’d be doing a community service by making the other runners look good. (You’re welcome.)
Kevin brushed it off, thinking it was just one more I-need-a-change thing I was going to start and not finish. But I was determined.
The next day, I start to prepare. First, I Google, “How far is a 5K race in miles?” (I never did learn the metric system back in 5th grade.)
Three miles? Holy crap!
Surprisingly, this does not yet dissuade me.
Eight-week training schedule for beginners? (gulp)
It looks like I might need to download The-Couch-to-5K-Running-Plan app.
OK, I’ll just start out slow with short distances and build my way up, day by day.
I decide to warm up by walking around our neighborhood first. I’m huffing and puffing. Then I reach down to put on my other sneaker. Once I lace up both running shoes (the pretty-in-pink Nikes that have only seen action when I’m running late), I grab my iPod and head out the door.
I’ve got my keep-to-the-beat music pumping, everything from “Situation” (Yaz) to “Waking Up In Vegas” (Katy Perry) to “This Is How We Do It” (Montell Jordan). I’m psyched! After a half-mile brisk walk, I’m all warmed up, ready to take off and hit my stride. I got this.
I run and run and run. My heart pounds, my lungs burn, my T-shirt is drenched in sweat, and I gasp for air. Must. Keep. Breathing.
I look back to see how far I’d gone. I had run the length of two driveways.
Oh, dear God.
I alternate my pace to increase the chance that I will actually make it around the block. Walk for two driveways, run for two driveways, walk for two, run for two. Heart. Still. Exploding. Walk for three, run for one, walk for four, crawl for one.
Besides my body giving out halfway around the block, my initially positive, kick-ass inner dialogue also fails me at this point.
What the hell was I thinking? My legs ache. I can’t breathe. Quick, smile at the neighbor and pretend you’re having fun. Crap, I still have half a block to go. I could be at Panera having a bagel. This song sucks. You suck. Go back to bed.
In the distance, I see my front porch, beckoning me home with welcome anticipation, like a mom running out to meet her little kindergartener after his first day at school.
Slowly, one exhausted, quivering step at a time, I reach my house, open the door, collapse on the floor and vow never to do that again.
It wasn’t fun, I didn’t have the time of my life and it really is because I can’t run.
And I’m OK with that, realizing that I need to buy a cool T-shirt I saw emblazoned with my new running philosophy: Training for a Marathon (on Netflix).
What have you tried — and epically failed — at doing? (Please share your thoughts below.)