Wednesday night Bible studies are often late getting started as participants drag in from home, school, and work. Many of us haven’t eaten supper so we sip on boiling hot coffee, while urging our synapses to remember the scripture for the evening. This past Wednesday was “normal” until the very end. Our Christian brother, who also subs as the associate minister, announced that he would like us all to run in a 5K race. By May 04. Of this year.
We all sipped and stared. Not a sound in the room. Finally, I raised my hand and inquired if 300 trips between kitchen and washing machine would count. He gave me the eye and kept talking. This was a program designed for spiritual uplifting as well as getting us off of our couches. “Couch to 5K” I believe he called it. I was thinking “Couch to ER” but I held my tongue and sipped my hot chocolate.
I decided to at least try it.
Training Day 1
First actual running day. We were told to make this spiritual and to walk/run at first. I set my beginning ratio to 20 running steps: 2000 walking steps. That seemed just about even. I layered on three athletic-looking jackets, added gloves, and my trusty purple toboggan from Tractor Supply. Laced up my trail runners, said a quick prayer and took off.
I warmed up by walking half way down the paved drive and then cut to the left to follow the grassy ridge dividing our property from the dogs next door. When I hit the grass, I sped up. The land undulates up and then back down to where the lady across the street parks the school bus. So far so good. Touch the bus, turn right, and stay to the far side of the asphalt that they call a country road. Not out of breath yet. Turn right at the mailboxes and prepare mentally for my first “run” section.
The drive is kinda flat, not Texas flat by any means, but it is a tilt rather than a slope. Another prayer and I am off. I pick up speed. Sort of. I am not really running, running, but kind of going up on my toes and bouncing to give the impression of a run. My knees and hips tell me that it is definitely more than a walk. It is a sacrifice that I am prepared to make. I make it to the top where the path splits to a gravel road.
Back to a slow walk to catch my breath. Up the gravel road and climb into the mountain. This is the highest point of my running loop. I utter a prayer for the beauty before me and keep climbing. Right before the evergreens I turn around to descend the ridge just to my left. I take three steps and then my toe hits the edge of a tree stump. I jam out my left foot to catch my balance and find myself in a split where my chest is nearer the ground than it should be. Wait a minute! This is a designated “walk section,” not a “hurtling forward” section. I grab a tree branch, wrench my back, cramp my quads and lurch downwards. About the time I manage an upright posture, I hit a patch of mud, get thrown backward, catch myself with flailing arms and a dragging foot and keep right on going down.
Down, down, down that ridge right to the side of the compost-filled swimming pool where I screeched to a slow walk. Not to worry. I can still walk but I think my patella swung around to visit my hamstrings somewhere along the way. I limp around the carriage house and begin my second loop.
Two more loops. My first training day is OVER! I head to the house and remember that this is a spiritual exercise. I lift my face to the sun and talk to the Lord.
“Lord, forgive me for the words I said on that first loop when I added the downhill run section. And Lord please forgive Greg for his error in thinking we can all run a 5K by May 4.”
I limp in to measure EXACTLY how far it is from the kitchen to the washing machine. I may need to train inside tomorrow.