This past Sunday was what might be my last 5K of the season – maybe my last one ever. Not because of this experience, but because overall I feel…well, a little silly. A little defeated. More than a little convinced I could be getting the same actual workout by going disc golfing with my husband.
Sunday was World Run Day. I signed up over a month ago to do the Dirty Herd 5k up at Pretty Lake, Mattawan, partly because it was sorta kinda local, partly because money raised goes back to Pretty Lake Camp and its work with at-risk kids, and partly because the name of the group made me laugh. Bones had a thing to go to as well and somehow from agreeing the night before that us leaving at 8:30AM was fine to when we actually started to leave, I panicked and announced I would never make it on time.
This was to be true in ways I couldn’t anticipate at that point.
We got Bones to his thing a bit early, and me to my thing on time. As in, the runners hadn’t left yet. But by the time I figured out where registration was (“Oh, we already shut down! Hold on…”), confirmed that yes I still wanted to do the walk, and made it back outside, everyone was gone.
I walked up to people that looked like they were working the event. “Can I still go?”
“Oh! Sure! You’re just..let’s see…about 11 minutes behind the group.
“Is it well marked?”
I started down a road. As it turned out, this would be the only paved path for the entire walk. Initially there were white arrows painted on the road, but as I turned onto a dirt road, that wasn’t the case. I fairly quickly found my path blocked by plastic orange tape, with no obvious markers telling me where to go next.
This was the…well, the fifth time that morning that I seriously considered not doing this silly thing. I could have totally ditched and no one except Bones would have known. I next considered crying out of frustration. I finally decided to just duck past the ribbon and keep walking. Worst case scenario, I figured, was that I’d have a nice walk around Pretty Lake.
So pretty, y’all. I could hear the music of the start/finish area pouring across the water and I thought at the time that maybe the 5K/10K was just a trail that would go all the way around the lake. And then I finally found some people working the event, stationed behind a table covered in cups of water. They informed me that I was indeed on the right path (surprise!) and I wanted to follow the path marked by the orange ribbons rather than the blue ones. (As a side note: I didn’t see a single walkie on any staff person, which really surprised me.)
I hadn’t seen any blue ones yet, but I thanked them and continued..and finally did find where the path broke off. This album gives you an idea of what the start of this event looked like. (I never saw this many people. Alas.) What isn’t shown is that the trail took us off road and into the woods. It was gorgeous and just hilly enough to make my calves ache for a day or so afterwards….and honestly, it was a little nerve wracking to be alone in the woods so afraid of falling. My right foot is still not fully healed from all my falls last month. 😦 But! I did not fall!
A lot of the trail followed ones they clearly use over the summer, and people that know how to read trail markers would have felt more comfortable than I did, as those trail markers were frequently placed and highly visible. And it was honestly so lovely. Even with my feeling nervous about falling, I loved this location and trail, and kept thinking that Bones should be there because he would have really enjoyed the hike. At the same time, I started thinking that yeah, I could probably get the same benefit from walking along with him while he’s disc golfing…so, there’s that.
I did finally start to encounter people doing the 10K, and I passed one walker (!!!!), so I’m pretty sure I wasn’t DEAD last. We didn’t have timing chips on our bibs, but I think my total time was probably my worst one yet – just over an hour. OTOH, it was hilly and I got lost and I’m actually ok with my time being not too speedy. I had a lot of time to think about my 5K fixation and just as I was thinking to myself, ‘This is really stupid. Everyone knows you’re slow. You’d rather be riding a bike. You’re not ever going to run. Hell, walking is a challenge! What the hell are you doing? This is your last one,’ a 10K runner passed me and said hi. I looked up and saw he had a prosthetic foot.
I assume he also managed not to fall on this trail.
Soooooo…ok, brain weasels. STFU.
Will I do another 5K? Maybe.
Is it in part because I got another medal?