Run for the Shirt
May approaches and nearly every Saturday one can see advertisements of 5K road races here and there. Months ago, the members at our church committed to running a 5K to help a young family within the community. We started training right away in the snow and cold. We circled the local track numerous times on a Sunday afternoon instead of crawling under warm covers for a much needed nap. Our numbers have dwindled but, still and all, several of us are still thinking about walking the race.
I didn’t mention the runners dwindling because they were committed from the front. Races are their forte. Runners are in shape and collect 5K shirts for grins. They do not see 3.1 miles as a lifetime feat but rather a warm-up. Our fearless leader says he runs for the shirts. Whaaateeever! I think there are an infinite number of better ways to acquire a cheap T-shirt. The runners are the ones out there in professional, crackly race clothing that sheds rain and snow, insulates, and makes them look thinner than they already are. Plus, they have nifty watches that look really cool.
Needless to say I am a walker. I don’t have professional gear. I wear whatever I can find in my closet and drawers. My teen has become my fashion police. “Mom! I am not going to the track with you dressed like that.” I like to be warm when I walk and spring has been very iffy about showing her faithful self this year. So what if I look like a stuffed walker rather than a professional runner? I look just like everyone else at the starting line sacrificing knee joints and Sunday naps.
Each week, the walkers gather around the runners to stretch and listen to their advice. As we watch them run out of the parking lot, we shuffle to the start and set our Run-Keeper apps. We all walk at our own pace, often in pairs or trios. As a result, we are spread out for a distance. Unfortunately, there are no bathrooms on the practice trail. If we happen to see a walker suddenly turn into a runner, we can all safely assume that it is not their knees bothering them. Sometimes, the young runners are pressed into service to sprint back to the parking lot, get a car, pick up the walker and find the closest restroom. It is a win-win situation. The young runner learns to help others while logging a faster time than normal. The walker learns to trust a young driver while also logging a faster pace. Intergenerational mentoring. What more can you ask for in a 5K?
One fine Sunday, spring decided to shine on us in all her glory. We showed up at the practice run without coats, sweaters, gloves or hats. Everyone had gone to the bathroom beforehand. The sun was shining. Several of the youth were hopping around using their excess energy. It was a good day for walking. As I came up out of a stretch I noticed my friend’s pants. I commented that I really liked them and that she almost looked as sleek as one of the runners. She was a walker so this pleased her. She pranced and paraded around to show us her pants.
They were black, stretchy and had pink stripes down the sides. The edges of the stripes were kind of jig-jaggedy and looked very runnerish. We all whistled and “oohed” and “aahed” at her new walking gear. Her daughter went over to look closer at the pants and ran her hands down the edges of the stripes. As she straightened up she gave a loud whoop!
“Mom! Your pants are on backwards!”
She looked down. “Backwards? No they are not!”
We all looked closer and sure enough the jig-jags on her stripes were the seams. On the outside of her leg.
She looked again and said, “They are not on backwards, they are on inside-out!” and she walked right out of the parking lot.
What can I say? Walkers Rule!