The 2012 race season hasn’t begun yet, but I’m waiting. In the meantime, I’m daydreaming about my first 5K of the 2011 season not too long ago. My daughter Tory and I drove to Central Jersey to run in a charity race with my brother-in-law Bid. It was 32 degrees and sunny (not an ideal temperature), but hey, at least it wasn’t raining. Tory and I were excited to be running with Bid; he’s a fun guy to hang around with and he knows everyone. He is a mailman and his clients run the gamut from folks like you and me to “The Situation” of Jersey Shore fame and his former client, Paulette Stallone, who organized the charity run; she appeared on Wife Swap a few years ago. I am also still sparkling with associated TV fame dust today because one of the former contestants on Biggest Loser ran past me during the race.
Training is part of running — at least in most runners’ minds. For example, I’d been doing my walk/run training thing on my new treadmill for weeks prior to that first race, trying to whip my middle-aged mom body into good enough shape that I wouldn’t fall over the finish line, gasping my last gasp. Tory, however, sees training through a slightly different pair of sunglasses. She ran some in the weeks leading up to that first 2011 race, but she mostly played volleyball and softball. And she attended school. She’s 17 years old. Need I say more? I didn’t ask Bid what his training regime was prior to the race, but I figured since he’s only a year younger than me and kinda creaky that he was doing more than drinking beer to prep.
We all lined up: Tory and Bid were well ahead of me at the starting line. Bid stood there talking. Tory zoned out to the music on her iPod. I was well back from them and used those last minutes to stretch. Not that I hadn’t stretched prior to the lineup. But I stretched some more. It gave me something to do besides worry about the race ahead of me. The (imaginary) gun sounded, and we were off: more than three miles of mostly flat, endless ground in front of us. I started out at a trot since I was hemmed in by a crowd of well-dressed Sunday runners; these folks dressed the part, and I was curious to see if they ran the part, if you know what I mean. Screwing my ear buds tighter into my ears, I found my rhythm. I can’t stand Kanye West so as his “Power” blasted in my ears, I tried to outrun his voice. When “Like a G6” flew into my ears and into my feet, I picked up the pace. Mile One down in a little over 11 minutes. As Willow Smith did her “Whip My Hair” wailin’ and Shakira gave me a little “Waka Waka,” I ran on. Mile Two down in a little over 22 minutes. Winded, but determined, I ran around the sandy stretches of the trail, up an incline and past my sister Cindy, who was there to cheer us on. Buckling down to the 9MM beat, I rounded the guardhouse and headed toward the finish line. “Black & Yellow” blared. Mile Three down in a little over 32 minutes. I picked up my pace when I saw the finish line. I crossed the line to “Miracles.” My daughter blasted over the finish line many, many minutes ahead of me, and her Uncle Bid was only about seven minutes behind her. It ain’t pretty watching me run, but I got the job done.