I’m not a runner, but I agreed to do a 5K, only because I thought it’d be an easy one. It’s at night, with kids in tow, and Halloween-themed, so you wear costumes. I figure it’s not so much a race as it is a parade.
In fact, during the eight-week training program, I quit at week six. I’m running 20 minutes without needing an ambulance, I’m good with that.
Because just like I figured, my oldest kid, dressed as Willie from “Duck Dynasty,” is tired from his football game, his fake facial hair itches, and he drops out before we even register.
He came to run
At the starting line, we push past two jellyfish and a giant chicken. And I’m thinking how are these people gonna run this thing with webbed feet and tentacles? My 7-year-old and I take a place behind a group costume, which is five characters from the Wii game “Mario Kart” – all standing in cardboard karts, and I’m suddenly annoyed I even bothered training those six weeks.
But what I haven’t considered is how seriously my son is taking this. He’s in a tie-dye body suit, Nike running shoes, taking a runner’s start. Suddenly it hits me, but before I can get out the words “stick with me” he’s off like a rocket.
And so am I! I try to stay with him, but lose him in a pack of zombies. Oh no, oh no, oh no where is he? He doesn’t know where he’s going, he doesn’t know where he is. He’s going to get lost, he’s going to get hurt, he’s going to get eaten by this giant Pac-Man that won’t get out of my way, please, please, where is he?
I literally sprint the first mile and see a blur of tie-dye way ahead making the turn. How could I have not thought of this? How could I not be ready for this? Every mom on the planet should be able to run after and catch her child, and never, not ever, find herself weaving between Dracula, Richard Simmons and a guy wrapped in a giant “Sharknado” funnel trying to catch her second-grader.
Back to training
Mile two and I’m in cardiac arrest. I don’t dare stop running, but I do start texting. I could drop dead out here and my son would leave with Mario thinking he’s going to go live inside a video game. I text Willie to catch his brother at the finish line.
Tie-dye guy ran a 27 minute 5K that day. And I learned to text during a blackout. I didn’t see what my time was, but I promise you it was a quarter of what I was shooting for. Lesson learned. They say you’re only as happy as your saddest child. Well, you better be as fast as your fastest child.
I’m picking back up at week six.
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