“It’s just another little 5K,” they said.
“They give you wine at the end. How bad can it be,” they said.
I don’t know who They are, since no one talked me into doing this run. Maybe They refers to the little voices in my head that say “Hey, look! A run! Go spend all your money and register!”?
The “little 5K” in question wasn’t even a 5K. It was advertised as 3.6 miles and, according to 3 different apps/devices, it was just over 3.7 miles in reality. The 3.6 must have been referring to how many of those miles were HILLS. Big, mean HILLS.
The day started crazy enough. X was the Poppy King of our village’s Memorial Day Parade. Jay and I had to get a 3 year old into a suit and then convince him to sit in the back of stranger’s convertible and wave at more strangers. You can imagine how well that went.
As soon as the parade wrapped up, I hauled ass back to VFW to change out of my hideous Ladies Auxiliary get-up and into some running clothes. Off Jay and I were to Benmarl Winery for this nice, little run with wine at the end.
We must have taken a wrong turn because, from what I can tell by the weather, we ended up in the 17th level of Hell rather than Marlboro. It was HOT. It was probably only in the 80s but after a winter of running in the Polar Vortex, I can’t handle temps over 60 anymore. To add further insult, as we turned up the road to the winery, we are literally going UP. It was a giant hill. And right in the middle of that giant hill, was the 3 mile marker. At that moment, I received a text from Christina, who must have just driven the same chunk just seconds ahead of us:
Wait till you see the mile 3 marker
I might vom
Once we got up to the registration area, things started looking good. There was a band setting up, the grill was getting fired up for post-run festivities, and there was wine everywhere, just waiting for us to triumphantly return and imbibe.
We had to go back down that ski slope they called a driveway to get to the starting line. Jay, Christina, and I started at the same time, but within half a mile, I couldn’t see either of them anymore. The heat and the constant hills slapped me upside my lungs and shins and I was nearly out. I resigned myself to walking the uphills and taking the downhills as fast as I could without falling on my face.
I was sweating like a stuck pig. I had hydration with me, stopped at both water stations to chug Gatorade and pour water over my head. It was pretty brutal, though, and I was sure heat exhaustion was going to rear its ugly head on me again.
This was one of those times when you realize that it is the people around you who can make or break an event, or even just a run. I was ready to just say “fuck it,” walk the rest, and just hope I didn’t pass out before getting back to the winery. Then there was this woman. She was wearing an American flag tee and was begging people to start singing because her tunes had just crapped out on her. I sang a verse of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” very badly. She told me to run. I told her I’d run the downhill. She passed me. Then the downhill came and I could see her, so I ran. We leapfrogged like that for much of the last mile. We kept each other going until we finished the race at a strong run.
I didn’t break any records, but I finished the damned thing- in heat and hills- in 44 minutes 2 seconds. That was 58 seconds under my goal time.
Sadly, upon returning for my wine, I remembered that I don’t really like Benmarl’s wines. Poo.