Fowl Play is Hard Work
Well. That was not a personal delight.
Sure, it was great seeing the folks from our RFW class all come together on an early Saturday morning for the Turkey Trot event. All of us bundled in our finest fall running gear. Mentally preparing ourselves, and each other, for the brisk task ahead.
Hot chocolate was consumed, salutations were made and pictures were taken. Then began the movement towards the starting line. Discussions about intervals and what everyone was going to strive to accomplish were had while we waited for the indistinct and muffled voice over the loudspeaker to make some final announcements before finally sounding the horn.
At which time, the entire mound of participants quickly took off like…a herd of turtles in mud. Thick mud.
The walk towards the starting pad was slow and easy, barring the occasional bump and wealth of colorful language coming from more ‘serious’ runners trying desperately to step on the rubber as far in front of the rest of the pack as possible. Since they inaudibly claimed race experience, I’m sure they knew their race time would be the same whether they crossed the start line twenty paces ahead of me or three paces back. That didn’t seem to prevent them from feverishly winding through the crowd, however. They obviously had far more important things to do later that day than I.
Once I got to the starting line, the few people from class that were still near me started their jaunt.
“Off we go!” I thought.
Within only a few hundred feet, my legs began to complain.
“That sure didn’t take long.” I groaned aloud, drawing curious looks from those around me.
I attempted a few more painful intervals before settling on the idea of warming up a bit more. I knew I was going to attempt the 10K so I had enough time for a few miles to warm up before jumping back into the run/walk intervals.
When we got to where the two routes went their separate ways, I limped off the beaten 5K path and started my 10K journey alone.
The 10K race started a half hour after ours, so I knew I had a half hour head start before the other runners would begin breezing past me. I was just getting ready to begin some run intervals around the three mile marker when the first of the 10K runners began to jog past.
They actually frightened me. They came along much sooner than I had anticipated and at a much faster pace.
I became mesmerized as I watched them from behind while they ran off into the distant rays of sun that had now begun to peek through the overcast sky.
Each runner had a very different running style. Different pace, foot falls, arm placement and breathing. Some were quiet, comfortably and smoothly making their way past me while others spoke with their running neighbors. Still others sounded as if they were straining, yet their form seemed effortless and carefree.
Some of the forms I witnessed caused me pain. I have a tendency to over think things, (I don’t know if you can tell), so I sometimes put myself in people’s shoes when there’s barely enough room in there for themselves. Some people had their feet falling all about, rather than in a straight line. Some had a pop and kick that made my ankles twinge. Regardless of the many different movements, angles and noises they were creating during their run, all of them were doing it.
I found myself beginning to get jealous of the people that were running as I have wanted to run for so long, (maybe not so much with the popping and kicking.) I was afraid I might have a hankering to trip some of them as I heard them come up behind me. I mean, I know I was walking, but did they have to pass by me so fast? Like it was a race or something?
Those people, I thought, just take themselves too seriously. I also noticed as they passed me, they crowded me no matter how far to the right I strolled. I became all too familiar with the shrubbery that lined the path.
This is not a sport for the claustrophobic.
Before I could begin my tripping, I switched my thinking gears. Within moments, I saw these athletes as nothing more than stick figures with sunglasses, expensive sneakers and headphones.
That helped me.
Once that thought process began, I was able to once again focus on my own morning journey. The trouble was I didn’t feel comfortable doing the run/walk intervals. Every time I started the run portion, I was afraid I’d get trampled as I slowed to the walk. Who needs that uncertainty?
And so I walked.
I completed the 10K with no problems. Once I shortened or stopped the running portions, there was no pain and I was comfortable throughout. At least the right amount of comfortable, I think, for someone walking a 10K.
All in all, the Turkey Trot (or my version – “Meleagris Meander”) was a good time. I’m proud of my group for finishing. I did not see any of them after I crossed the finish line. They were all probably back home and taking a nap by the time I finished. But I do know they completed this portion of their journey and, for that, congrats to them!
No bridge class for me this time. I’ll be back in the RFW class in January. Until then, I’ll think more about surgery as I try to continue the running regimen I’ve been working with the last few weeks. Now that the race is over, those silly sneakered, sunglassed and headphoned stick figures have morphed back into athletes doing what I am working towards.
Claustrophobia be damned.