This time last year I would have laughed at you if you told me I would participate in my first 5K. Well let's not get excited, I walked it. All the folks from work that convinced me I should do it kept saying......"there will be lots of walkers.....". I should have heard the loud 'sucker' in the background.
Straight from work we arrived at the waterfront which is a beautiful remake of the city's warehouse area. We signed in, got out numbers and t-shirts, stretched, listened to the local radio station and waited. First was the the children's mini run. Too cute! Ok, so now it is the walkers and runners to the starting line. I gravitate to the back of the pack. I am confident that I can do this and that I will not be the slowest person. The tension mounts and off we go. It took far less than 15 seconds to realize that I am so far out of my league. Everyone is running and has pulled ahead of me. It is me and the motorcycle cop behind me. I am having the immediate panic attack of embarrassment. Will it be me and this cop for the next hour? Way to make me feel like a sore thumb. Apparently in my total horror I am thinking out loud and I comment about how I was lied too about the number of walkers. And there is Chris to my rescue.
Chris couldn't have been more perfect if he were on a white stead. Chris tells me to stick with him because his wife always takes off and leaves him. And sure enough I see her and her girlfriend rounding the bend ahead of us. Chris also reassures me that I won't be the last one in because he has a tradition of walking in last. A peace settles in and I know I can do this. We round the corner for the riverwalk and the motorcycle cop if gone so I am a little less threatened. We walk and talk and talk and walk. Somehow we picked up a few folks that are now behind us. We didn't pass anyone so it had to be during my initial haze of embarrassment that I overlooked these comrades.
Chris, a native of the area, told me all these little tidbits about the area. We cruised past where his mother worked during the war (WWII) making ship parts.....a real Rosie the Riveter. We eventually pass another person or two in the shop area as they slowed to window shop. We are about a mile and a half in and all the people from work have already passed me on their way back.
We turn the bend and round the corner and we notice that we have lost anyone behind us. The workers positioned on the route are picking up the cones after we pass their check points. I am too worried about my burning calves to be embarrassed at this point. It's all good. I am a confirmed couch potato that would otherwise be sitting in the chair cross stitching or reading a Grisham novel but I am out here doing it!
Chris's daughter slows and joins us for a bit. She is about 13 and she is tiring. Not long and she has a burst and she pulls ahead. I start to waiver and Chris pushes me on. The whole walk is nothing more than I am used to but the pace is more intense than I would prefer.
So the finish line with the digital time on top is looming ahead. I am so thankful that Chris was put in my path for the afternoon. Chris tells me that I helped him shave 6 minutes off his time. Chris pulls back, his daughter now with us again and tells me to cross the line ahead of him. He, after all must keep up the tradition of he and his daughter crossing hand in hand and last.
There they are, all the folks from work, cheering me! Oh the further embarrassment. I cross at 52 minutes 30 seconds and feel great. Looking at the website, I was under a 17 minute mile which is acceptable I feel. I could have kept going. I grab a cold bottle of water and we are all off to have a after group shot taken.
I find Chris who is with his family and I shake his hand and thank him for helping me make it.
Back to reality, into the car, across the river, home to cook dinner! Driving home I am energized and looking forward to my next walk.