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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finishing The Race

Before I turned 40, I made a list of 40 things I want to do during the year. High on that list is walking in a marathon.

I had every intention of walking in the Little Rock Marathon March 14. Actually, my plans were to do the half, 13 miles. In November, shortly before Thanksgiving, I started training. Needless to say, I didn’t keep it up. Since I didn’t make that race, I figured I’d make the next one, Capital City Classic 10 K. It was the only other race before I turn 41 in May.

Even without training, (walking about once in the past two months), I was determined to walk in that race. And I did. My thinking was… I’m in pretty good shape, and 6.2 miles is doable. I might not have the best time, but I surely won't come in dead last.

I bought a new outfit to walk in, electric blue. It’s cute, and I was feeling really good about myself.

I had to park my vehicle on the road just after entering the park, and walk the rest of the way in (I realized later, I parked at the one mile marker). Getting there 30 minutes prior to the race, I observed the others. They were checking and strapping little monitors to their wrists, stretching and doing other SERIOUS runner stuff.

I am NOT a runner, and I was starting to feel a little intimidated. No one looked like a walker. They were all jogging around, stretching, and again, doing other SERIOUS runner stuff. Finally reaching the registration table, I asked, “Are there any other walkers?”

The nice lady said there should be some. I made it to the back of the line, with “the some,” (11).

The race started, the runners took off, and the walkers followed suit. I was at the very end with a mother and her two daughters, (D1 and D2), along with Thelma and Louise, (two older women in their 70s).

Sizing up the walkers, I decided, I would not be beat by Thelma and Louise. There was also a man just up ahead with this staggering walk, also appearing to be in his 70s. I set my sights on passing him as well.

Quickly, I got ahead of Thelma and Louise, and was in stride with Mom, D1 and D2. D2 dropped her keys, and they fell behind me. I made it to the one mile marker in 14 minutes and 53 seconds. Not too bad, staggering man was in sprinting distance, and I was feeling comfortable.

Maybe I was getting too comfortable. Thelma and Louise walked up on me, and passed me. I figured, I’ll just keep in step with them, and keep up with their pace. Around the one and a half point, the front runners meet us head on, running strong! That’s when Mom, D1 and D2 jogged up from behind, leaving me on the tail end.

Oh no, they didn’t!
I am NOT a runner, and had no intention of running, at all. But I had to. I simply refused to be dead last, especially behind a pair of 70-year-olds! I ran (more like walking fast, leaning) past Thelma and Louise, and the staggering man. Feeling good again!

After passing the mile two marker, just under thirty minutes, I came up on the three nurses, passed them, and put some distance between us. Shortly thereafter, I noticed Thelma and Louise were nipping at my heels. They made me run (walk fast, leaning) again. We played that game for about another mile. Every time they’d get close… I’d run.

Between the third and fourth mile, I could hear Thelma and Louise’s conversation. “It’s time for you to run. Every time we get close, you run ahead,” Louise said to me. They were on to me, and thought it was funny.

By then I was getting fatigued. I let them pass me, and had plans of lying low behind them for a while, catch my breath, and run real fast past them (Ha). The three nurses and the staggering man were still a ways behind.

Then I heard them coming. The three nurses were trying to run and catch up. They didn’t quite make it, but they did close the gap pretty good. I just needed to keep them behind me. My strategy had to change a little. If they started to run again, I would run too, and keep up. Stop when they stopped, catch my breath, and then run real fast and leave them behind (Ha, ha).

At mile marker four, the three nurses started running. I ran too, and kept up with nurse three, while the other two were a few paces ahead. We finally stopped running, (If that’s what you want to call it. They are not runners either.), and started walking. I don’t know if she walked away from me, or I slowed down. Either way, I got left behind. Thelma and Louise were now long gone, and I had fallen behind the three nurses. But, I was still ahead of the staggering man, and I wasn’t going to finish dead last, (Ha, ha, ha).

At the last mile of the race, I could hear the staggering man breathing, loud and hard. Crap, he could reach out and touch me. My vehicle was right there, and I wanted to get in and drive off. That was not an option, I had to finish the race. There is not another one before I turn 41.

Not only did the staggering man hawk (track term for run you down, and pass you) me down, finishing at least 100 meters ahead of me! I finished DEAD LAST!!!

My husband sympathized with me. He knows, and understood exactly why I walked. My cousin and friends, God bless their souls, consoled me with, “But at least you finished.”

Yeah, I finished behind Thelma and Louise, and the staggering man at 1:36:41.36. Then, I had to walk a mile back to my vehicle. And I did so, very slowly… with my hips, legs, and feet hurting, and a huge smile of accomplishment.


♥georgie♥ said...

awwww this post made me giggle in many spots! BUt YAY YOU! you did it!

Chaotically Calm said...

I was just short of snorting Snapple mango madness through my nose reading this pot. Ha ha...believe me I a laughing with you not at you. You give me the push I need to sign up for that Kidney walk.....we will see if I stay dedicated.

Workin' MAMA! said...

Great job, Latonya - Proud of your accomplishment - So glad that you not only finished - but you 'got in the race' = So many folks are on the sidelines only wishing to one day 'get in' the race - criticizing those who get in it...
That alone is inspiring!

Good for you!

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