My daughter and I signed up for the “Turkey Trot”-a 5 K Walk/Run-in Winchester last Saturday. The proceeds went to the Clark County Community Services for food, clothing, shelter and utility assistance during the winter. (It was a worthy cause.)
We kept watching the weather forecast. It called for 53 degrees with showers that morning. Though it definitely was a worthy cause, Momma don’t walk in the rain. We stopped for a cup of strong coffee and a Bearclaw (my new favorite 5K breakfast) as we mulled over what to do. We finally agreed that it might not rain at all and made our way to the walking trail.
I thought it would rain so I wasn’t really prepared for the 5K. But everyone else there WAS! I didn’t have a jacket or gloves or even one tissue! (My nose runs faster than I do.) All the other runners/walkers had come to-ta-lly prepared. Many wore sleek and often shiny stretchy pants, with perfectly matching headbands, socks and shoes. Some teams had matching hats and shirts. A few wore turkey hats and/or tutus. I admired their courage. My goal was to finish without falling!
Some of the serious runners started stretching right away. I’ve heard that you should always stretch before you do something athletic. I wanted to, just in case, plus I had a hip replacement a few years ago. I leaned a little to the right and then a little to the left. It was such a small movement my daughter laughed out loud. I knew I needed to, but thought I would look stupid, which was stupid in itself. I started moving my legs up and down-semi-stretching-like I was cold. Nobody cared.
Porta-potties were lined up in the registration area. When you’re over 50, you may or may not go to the bathroom a lot. The little plastic bathrooms are not my very favorite but are better in an emergency than going into the bushes. Lines were backed up at each one. The race was getting started, but I had a plan. My daughter and I could see the walk path. It was clear that we would be making several laps. (The really ambitious runners were already going around the track to warm up.) When we came by after the first lap, I would just stop by the Porta-potties. It was a brilliant idea.
All runners/walkers gathered for prayer and we were off. It hadn’t rained after all and we began a picturesque trek around a huge property. The crowd thinned as each one chose their pace. We were in the ‘plan to finish but not really concerned about our time’ bunch. I re-considered my decision to not use the Porta-potty. Note to self…Go before! But realistically, how long could it take? We would circle back any minute and it would just be a funny story. And then we turned into the woods…it was a winding trail clear to Texas it seemed. I walked, while my bladder jogged with every step.
A mile and a half later I saw the plastic bathrooms in the distance. Praise the Lord!
The terrain was tough at times. One nice young man, who was helping with the race, cautioned us about the slippery mud going up a hill. Without his warning, we would’ve fallen for sure! On our return lap, he yelled, “You’re almost there! You can do it!” What an angel!
We gave it our best and laughed the entire way. On seeing the three mile marker I yelled, “I can hear the Rocky music!” When we crossed the finish line, not a soul cheered, “Hooray! You did it!” In fact, no one was watching at all. The man with the time clock only said, “I need the piece of paper at the bottom of your registration.” We laughed at that, too. We high-fived each other and had that warm fuzzy feeling inside anyway. Not the one that makes you think you’re having a heart attack, but the one of satisfaction that you’ve really done something.
On Sunday, our pastor had us turn to Hebrews 12:1-2. It says: “…since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus… I LOVED IT! It reminded me of the Turkey Trot the day before! But in my case, it would be “let us WALK with perseverance”! Momma don’t run.
We’re already planning on another 5K in December. I need to find some shiny stretchy pants and a really cool head thing to warm my ears and look cool at the same time-maybe something sparkly. I’m gonna stretch, too right there in front of everybody and act like I know exactly what I’m doing!
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.