Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Reluctant Runner

"Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our

eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." ~Hebrews 12:1-2

I'm doing my first 10k today.

But it's not just my first 10k-- it's my first ANY k. I hate running.

And yet, here I stand, buckling my two littlest into a jogging stroller. The older one is wearing a Nike tee with My Time Will Come inked in blue. I'm pinning my racing number to the front of my shirt... 643.

And why did I sign up for this?

Because. When you're done having babies and you hit midlife, you have to start investing in yourself again (or so I've been told).

So that is what I am doing: "Investing in myself."

We roll up to the starting line right before the race begins. We are dead last. But I'm not in it to win it, so no worries.

...And we're off!

The chatty Cathies in front of us are more interested in rehashing the zombie show they've been binge-watching on Netflix than they are in actually working up a sweat.

One of them asks the others, "Do ya'll bitches wanna run?"

Another snaps back, "Hell the fuck no."

Time to pass on the left.

As much as I am enjoying eavesdropping on this conversation, little ears are listening. But now the complaining begins.

"Mommy, I want to get out of the stroller." She flicks a flower she picked earlier.

"No," I answer adamantly, picking up my pace. "You are not getting out of this stroller."

"But mommy, I want to run!" she whines.

"This is not about you," I shout with short, choppy breaths. "I'm running and you are riding in the stroller with your sister."

"But, please can I get out? Please?" She is relentless.

I stop and squat down to her level. My doe-eyed three year-old sucks her pacifier and looks back and forth at both of us.


"You know what?" I ask rhetorically, unbuckling her. "Fine. Get out and run. Let me know when you get tired and want to ride in the stroller again."

I take the scunci from around my wrist and throw her hair into a messy bun on the top of her head. She prances off on knobby little Bambi legs, her shiny curls bouncing like an open slinky with each tiny trot.

Runners passing in the opposite direction on their way to the finish line immediately take notice. Praise and adoration for her come pouring in:

"Good job, little lady!"

"Way to go, sweetheart!"

"You can do it, honey!"

"Oh... my bad," I stammer. "This IS about you. This is TOTALLY about you." In a few short minutes, she is out of sight, leaving me and her little sister in the dust. I guess her time finally DID come.

A little while later, she passes me again, this time going the opposite direction on her way to the finish line. She waves and yells, "You can do it, mom!"

Eventually, I crossed the finish line, too. And did I come in dead last?

Hell the f*ck no.

Those zombie bitches behind me did.