My first 5K has been successfully completed.
And I have a T-Shirt to celebrate it!
It started on a snowy morning with a temperature rockin’ at 34 degrees.
I had planned to dress warm enough… and I did. Except for the ears.
I had planned to arrive early, pick up my racing packet (my t-shirt), and race later.
I was very reluctant to participate with the massive group of competitors. (There were probably about eighty.)
I was going to walk the 5K in the afternoon when Mother Nature promised 57 degrees, but the excitement of the event overtook me.
From eight-year-olds to a few my age, everyone seemed ready to go,
I spoke with several.
They were very supportive of this race being my first race. Even when they found out that I was planning to walk the entire race, they seemed genuinely supportive.
Many others expressed their own decisions about walking.
As we lined up, the young and agile runners moved to the front. I meandered to the very back.
I was starting with a group of able-bodied individuals, who in appearance, I thought that I could keep up with. They had all said that they were walking the race as well.
The starter pistol- a yell- was expressed… and we were off.
The beginning of the race was much faster than I had thought it would be for a walk.
The walkers I had chosen to join tended to walk much faster than I usually walked.
As first, I passed the pain and speed off as mere competitor’s zeal.
On our first small hill (a very small hill) I felt the extra exertion. My fellow runners walkers seemed to possess a new walking gear that I had not yet acquired.
It was soon apparent by the huffing and puffing, these walkers used the word walk for what I called a slow jog… AND THEY COULD MASTER THIS JOG GOING UP HILL!
I was passed by all the participants that I had originally thought that I could hang with in the race.
My mind was going numb.
Roger, your purpose here is to complete the race… not to run in the race.
Complete the race. I was passed my one competitor.
Complete the race. I was passed by three more.
Complete the race. I was passed by two more… and one of them had a cane!
Complete the race. On my shoulder, slowly chugging along, was an older woman. I thought she was seventy. I am sure my mind was playing tricks on me.
She jogged in place beside of me.
“Don’t worry,” she smiled. “I will stay behind you and talk to the squirrels. You won’t finish last.” And with those words, she jogged backwards and retook her place at the end of the line.
I was now over the first incline and was walking (still much faster than usual) through the next turns. The next runner in front of me had just jogged out of my eyesight.
Acceptance… I think that that the ‘squirrelly women” had a well-meaning heart… along with the knife that had cut through my manhood.
Acceptance… This walk was more important to me on more levels than I had first realized.
Acceptance… It was my job to finish the walk and record a time. My first real race would be to make the next 5K a little faster than this one.
Completion was all that mattered.
Having reached that conclusion, squirrelly lady passed me and I could hear her chatter-up the squirrels over the next incline.
There were hundreds of squirrels along the trail cheering her on.
I kept telling myself, they were cheering me on as well…. Although their cheers sounded sarcastically cynical?
Note to Those Concerned: I completed my first 5K!
Written for The Daily Post: Acceptance. I have been having problems finding something of meaning to create an answer for the prompts this year. So I decided to strengthen and tighten my focus. My topics for the month of March are as follows: (Monday) Teaching and Life; (Tuesday) Hobbies: Archaeology and Astronomy; (Wednesday) Fitness; (Thursday) Chores; (Friday) Writing; (Saturday) Hobbies: Music and Photography; and (Sunday) Hobbies: Gardening and Birdwatching.