© 2009, Cindy Beck
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, run, jog, Run Through the Lavender 5K, sports training, humorous writing, LDS humor, humor blog, funny, laugh)
YES! I did it! I just completed the Run Through the Lavender 5K! (For those of you who missed out on the antics while I’ve been in training, you can catch up on them here.)
When we arrived at the lavender farm for the race on Saturday morning, we had to walk—along with six million other people who kicked up clouds of swirling dust—from the parking lot to the registration desk. I said to my husband, Russ, “Hack, cough … does this distance from the parking lot … cough, cough … to the registration desk count as part of the run? ‘Cause if it does, we’ll have completed the race before we’re even registered.”
I grabbed my throat. “Aacccckkkkk!”
Russ looked at me through dusty eyelashes. “What’s wrong?”
“I swallowed a bug!”
Looking back on it, I’m sure it was a sign I should turn around and leave. If women were meant to walk/run and risk inhaling bugs in the process, they’d have been built with a bug screen in front of their teeth.
After waiting in line with the same six million people from the parking lot, we received our registration numbers and free T-shirts. The kind of free shirts that cost $17 apiece when we registered. Apparently most runners are munchkins, because all the shirts were size small. Small, as in able to fit a six-year-old who hadn’t eaten for the past three years.
Good thing I hadn’t shown up in just a sports bra, thinking they were giving me a shirt I could wear. The up side though, was that I now had a Christmas present for my four-year-old granddaughter.
We got in line behind the masses at the starting gate. It reminded me of sheep in a chute, being lead to their demise, and I considered running my race by heading back to the car. Before I had a chance, though, someone spoke unintelligible words though a megaphone and then shot a gun in the air, almost killing a crow.
The experienced runners bolted from the gate, while the sane people stood around drinking water and doing deep knee bends to impress each other. Finally, the chute emptied enough for contestants to walk through without getting trampled, and after two or three minutes, Russ and I leisurely strolled over the starting line.
“You don’t think they’re been counting time since they almost shot that bird, do you?” I asked Russ.
“Naw. Why would they do something like that?”
We ambled along a little farther, and the sun came out—warm, bright sun that made us sweat, and made me wonder why they hadn’t found a way to air condition those lavender fields.
That’s also when I realized the pack had thinned and some of them were already three-quarters of the way done with the race. I looked behind, thinking there were at least another hundred people slower than us. Instead, all I saw was a little ol’ lady in a wheelchair and a pregnant woman pushing a stroller. And they were gaining fast.
“Run,” I said to Russ, as he swatted at a mosquito that had targeted him. “Run or we’re going to end up last!”
We ran. And walked. And then ran again.
I stepped on a pointed rock that dug into my heel, and then hopped on one leg for two yards until the pain subsided. “Old people should never run a 5K,” I said to Russ.
Russ wiped the perspiration from his eyes with his shirt sleeve. “It’s not the running that’s the problem. It’s the sweat. Why did you make me take those free T-shirts back to the car? I could’ve used one as a bandana.”
We ran some more. Finally, we only had two yards to the finish line. People cheered on the sidelines, and a burst of exhilaration flooded through me, along with a jolt of adrenaline. I would make it! I was a runner. Nothing could stop me. I was—aaccccckkkkkk!
Choking, I attempted to spit up the gum I'd been chewing that had slid down my throat the wrong way. If you’ve ever tried running, and then accidentally swallowed your gum and got it stuck half-way down, you know it brings you to a dead stop. There I stood, three feet from the end, trying to cough up a gum hairball.
Unbeknown to Russ, my original idea was to put on a burst of speed and beat him across the finish line. At that moment, my plan instantly changed to remaining conscious and not being carried away by an ambulance in front of six million people.
I swallowed hard, and in those few seconds it took to get the gum down, Russ crossed the finish line in front of me.
I should be disappointed, but I’m not. With all the help Russ gave while I’ve been training, I suppose he deserved to come in ahead of me. And there’s always the next 5K … when I plan to offer Russ a stick of gum just before the finish, and then run like heck to beat him.
(Although I may have taken a small amount of literary license in this, the Run Through the Lavender 5K was well-organized and the lavender fields were beautiful. Also, the race organizers were very kind to say they’d send the right size shirts if people would leave their addresses. I’d recommend the race to anyone … just don’t chew gum while you’re running it.)
What's playing in my head: Chariots of Fire, the really tired version.