Sprawled across a stranger’s lawn he yelled at me, “This was the worst idea you’ve ever had!” I would have slung him over my shoulders if my feet and back hadn’t been hurting and I didn’t have to go to the bathroom. There was also the fact that I pretty much agreed with everything he’d just said and instead of admonishing him, I kind of wanted to sprawl across the lady’s pretty green grass as well…but I had to pee.
“Look we already walked 2 miles. That means if we turn back we have further to go than we would if we just keep going.” I was trying to be encouraging but I wasn’t buying it anymore than he was, he did however, get up off the grass and start walking again. We were 9th from last in finishing that race. It was our first 5k. My son was 7.
I don’t really know how I got in my head that 5k’s were a good idea for a family activity. I really don’t. I know that I wanted to start doing ‘healthy’ stuff. I also knew that whatever I was going to do it was going to involve my kid. Then this lady I worked with started talking about this 5k that was happening at the zoo. I thought, “It’s at the zoo. How hard can it be?” I should have got the hint when I got there and there about 3,000 people lining up to race that day. This was intense. This was real. This was timed.
I had walked 5k’s before but they were always for charity. There’s no competition at the Lupus Walk. No one is timing you when you Walk for Wishes. You raise the money and the walk is symbolic. An act of solidarity between you and your fellow philanthropist. This 5k thing was another animal all it’s own. And even if I wore the wrong the shoes (Converse are my favorite but they are not my friend when I got mileage to do), and couldn’t run (my knees ain’t having it), and everything in my body ached after that first go…I still believed that I could complete a 5k and that my son could do it too.
So even though the 5k at the zoo was actually a 5k around the zoo and our participation involved a colossal temper tantrum, I committed to walk a 5k every month for a year with my son. I did it for a few reasons:
1. Even though I’m not competitive (probably has something to do with my inattentiveness), I’m not a quitter. I had made a commitment (even if it was to strangers) to walk a 5k every month for a year and doggone it I was gonna do it!
2. My son has asthma. There have been days when asthma has taken me by the ovaries and squeezed so hard I felt the pain of it in my heart. I never ever want him to feel like something is out of his reach, and his doctor said that regular exercise would help him build lung capacity and reduce episodes. He was right. I’ve noticed that since we’ve started walking there are fewer episodes and they last for shorter periods. Plus we went from multiple emergency room (urgent care) visits every season to 1 in the last 2 years.
3. I have to make exercise a part of my life or Lord help me. My goal is heart health. I know most women my age are trying to be ‘high school skinny.’ I hated high school. I had no use for skinny then and I don’t have much use for it now. I could care less if I ever buy a size 8 in my life (well my shoe is a size 8 so that’s moot). I want my cholesterol to be appropriate. I want my blood pressure to be healthy. I want make sure that the blood keeps circulating to my brain in even flows. I need to keep my mind right and sound. Remember my son is 8. I have to stick around a long long long time.
4. I like helping. Like I really like helping. I think that we are all put on this earth for a reason, a purpose. I like the idea that I can do something that will help make the world a better place. So I put the two together…making a difference and exercise. So I walk 5k’s that focus on charities I believe in.
We’ve come a long way since that first 5k. A mighty long way. In the beginning we would walk the 5k, then go get pancakes and sleep for the rest of the day. A few weeks ago, we went on a 4 mile hike and afterward we went grocery shopping. Neither one of us broke a sweat. To say I’m proud of us is an understatement.
Tomorrow morning it’s going to snow. It’s April but it will be snowing and it will be cold. But tomorrow morning I made a commitment to complete a 5k. So even though no one is making me, I’m going to get up dress my side kick and myself in layers, lace up our walking shoes and head out the door. He’ll be completing his very first kid’s marathon. After walking 25 miles this last month in short and long walks, tomorrow morning he will run 1.2 miles.
My son will run 1.2 miles.
My son will run 1.2 miles.
Do you remember the part where I said, he’s also an asthmatic?