Friday, June 25, 2010

Scenes From a 5K

Hello, my name is Margi and I am a joiner. Find me a fun activity where a bunch of other people are involved and there won't be a whole lot of arm twisting to get me involved. Luckily my friends aren't usually jumping off (or bungee jumping from) the Brooklyn Bridge. However, last year a bunch of friends of mine signed up for their first triathlon. Yours truly was prego and way too busy swelling to join in the festivities. Fast forward one year and the joiner in me has prevailed. Craving a change in workout post pregnancy and searching for a sense of accomplishment (endless diaper changes, loads of laundry and emptying the dishwasher weren't cutting it) I signed myself up for my first triathlon which will be taking place later this summer.

Allow me to start by saying although I exercise regularly, I don't swim (unless you count wading to make sure your children are safe), I whine when we bike as a family in the neighborhood, and I had previously tried running for the past three years and failed. I'm thinking there is a fine line between challenging yourself and plain old stupidity. Nevertheless, I find myself a training plan, get a swim instructor, join a gym, and get to work. Five months later, I am in no danger of winning this thing, but I'm doing all right. Turns out, I love to swim. Thank God for my swim instructor who got me started on the right path. Spin class is a challenge, but good. Turns out all of those years I was whining, my bike seat was way too low making it much harder. And for the first time, I took a sensible approach to running, building slowly and I here I am still running five months later (prior years, I gave up in three to four weeks).

At this stage of the game I'm thinking it makes sense to do a few warm up events before the big triathlon, so I sign up for a 5K. Now I'm no fool, I need a motivator. I sign up for the 5K sponsored by the local Tex Mex restaurant as it is well known for its after party where a margarita and a burrito are included with your entry fee. This is my version of the dangling a carrot. If I have to crawl, I know I'm making it across the finish line.

Welcome to race day. It is HOT AS BLAZES. We're talking ninety plus degrees. The heat and I have always had a relationship that mirrors water and the wicked witch of the west (I'm meeeltiiing!). It's no wonder my chosen sport as a child was figure skating. I still don't know if I chose wisely or if spending summers in leg warmers in frozen facilities has ruined my internal thermastat for life...I digress (as usual). Anyway, race day I spend the day indoors, in the air conditioning and drink water like it's my job. I fire up my iPod and eat the right foods at the specified times according to my Google search. I also look up the race course and see where the water stations are located in hopes of gaging where I am in the race. I arrive at the event and find a bunch of other moms from school who are also running. I register and pin on my number. How is it the simple act of wearing a number makes you feel like a competitor? Start playing the Rocky theme! It's crowded and I don't really have my bearings, I'm just kind of moving along with the masses and confirming with my friends what going on. I try to align myself with people I think I can hang with (the competitive gals are long gone having headed to the front of the line). Truthfully, I am jittery. Time to get a hold of myself. I'm basically anonymous in a mass of people running towards a drink and a quesadilla...get a grip. How on earth do Olympians do it? Before I know it, the mass of people is moving forward and me with it. It's go time. I actually feel pretty good and am surprised that I am passing people. Wahooo! My iPod volume is too high, but I don't want to fiddle with it, so I try to use it as a motivator. We get to the first water station. According to the map I looked at earlier this should be the halfway point. I'm going pretty good, but my mouth is dry, I totally feel the heat, and my knees feel a little funky after yesterday's bike ride. Water up, keep going. I'm in love with the neighbors who are out providing additional water and have their hoses on so we can run through the spray. Still going. I'm starting to think the end should be getting near. Still going. Make another two turns. Still going. Where the H E double L is the finish??? Still going. I take my headphones off in hopes of hearing someone give a clue as to how much further. Another turn or two later gracious spectators yell, "Three more blocks to the margaritas!" Amen! I cross the line seeing my time letting me know I did ten minute miles which is about as good as it gets for me. I revel in this thought for two seconds before I dive head first into the water table and stay there refilling no less than four times. I find some of my friends and immediately start trading war stories. Who you saw, who you passed, who passed you, the gross guy who kept spitting, where you get the idea. I also learned that they told you when you hit the one mile mark, but I missed it because of my too loud iPod. It's finally margarita time. I'm not one to pass on a party, but my body is telling me that alcohol at this stage of the game is not wise. I seriously feel like I have no shot at keeping food down. Fifteen minutes later, my friends around me look pretty well recovered. I on the other hand, am still actively sweating like a pig. I have my said margarita in hand and am halfway done. I feel an involuntary impersonation of "wicked witch of the west meets water" coming on. That's my cue. I'm outta here. I pass my half finished margarita and jet without so much as a tortilla chip passing my lips. Oh well. My air conditioned home and a shower felt better than any bean concoction could have ever tasted at that point.

So, 5 pounds of water weight lost, half a margarita, and a foregone burrito fest is how this 5K went down. I finished at a pace of ten minute miles and with control of all my bodily functions. I'll call it a mission accomplished. How I will be able to complete this post swimming and biking remains to be seen, but one thing at a time.

It's another ninety degree day, but I think I'll opt for swimming today. Maybe we'll make quesadillas for dinner tonight. Regardless, Speedy Gonzales here is signing off. Have a great day everyone!


  1. LOVE YOU! Glad you're better! We're nuts.

  2. Whoo hoo! I salute you, girl! That heat was crazy! I just opened my mouth to say that my goal for next year was Broad Street and the Philly Tri (sprint) to my boss who is a triathlete. Guess I gotta do it now.

  3. Love it wish I could have joined you ..... Keep up the great work