Family Fun ‘n’ Run

I had two goals this summer: take the PCAT and run a 5K. I signed up for the Torchlight 5K this spring to force myself back into running. I knew that I wouldn’t want to waste the $23 entrance fee, so I was going to run that sucker come hell or high water.

Once the PCAT was done, I had a month to get myself able to run three miles. I ran a little pre-PCAT, but come June, I felt the need to really focus on the exam. To get started, I used some podcasts based on the Couch-to-5K program, a regimen designed to take you from watching Law & Order with Fritos stuck to your bum to an elite runner. Or at least someone able to hack and stumble their way through 3.2 miles. The program is nine weeks. I wound up using the early weeks of podcasts, but once the race loomed closer, I switched to just running as much as I could, which was not as often as I should. If one were to have the full nine weeks, the program is pretty sweet. The music is electronic-y and changes tempo to tell you when to walk and when to run, taking willpower out of the equation. This is helpful for me, because my idea of a good interval involves forty-five seconds of running, followed by ten minutes of walking. DJ Steveboy (no, I don’t know if that is the name on his drivers’ license) keeps me honest.

I tend to only enjoy running only in perfect conditions: minimal sun, cool, no humidity, light to no wind, flat land or downhill the entire way. Running in South Saint Paul during July offers none of this. The whole run is torture and I want to die. Although I came close, I did not actually run a full 5K prior to the race. So I was a little nervous.

The Torchlight 5K takes place in downtown Minneapolis as part of the Aquatennial celebration. The Torchlight Parade follows the run. The atmosphere is festive, and there is a large crowd (mostly people staking their claim on prime parade-watching territory with those no-sew fringed polar fleece blankets that are ubiquitous over the holidays in the midwest – people were camping out hours before the parade with pizza and board games). Family Fun Night (read: glorified school carnival) was occurring in Loring Park, so we decided to bring the boys for a little pre-race “fun.”

Rex-Goliath, suspicious of the concept of Family Fun.

Rex-Goliath, not even really in the mood for Family Fun.

Rex-Goliath, participating in Family Fun despite serious reservations as Daddy bought $10 in tickets and we were going to have at least $4 worth of fun, dammit

Xavier is down with Family Fun.

Rex-Goliath, not so sure that fishing for ducks so sad that they are laying sideways in the pool is going to be good Family Fun. Carnie Dude in the background is not exactly enthusiastically promoting his booth.

Rex-Goliath was most impressed by the one attraction not requiring tickets.

Cute baby with a cute butterfly on his shoulder.

Ah, finally a bit of Family Fun.

Some of the runners take these races seriously. These are the weirdos running around before the race to warm up while I am wiping noses at Family Fun. Then there are people like me – I try to limit my walking prior to the race. Overexerting myself might bring my time up from the Granny category to the Invalid category. The race ends with drinking in the park, and I am pretty sure that some of my race cohorts had already partaken in a few beverages. There were girls in tutus and argyle kneesocks. There were the dudes in super-short jorts and trucker hats, one of whom had speakers duct taped to his shorts playing such hits as “Vogue” and “Dancing Queen.”

The large number of racers definitely helped my performance because the pack was huge, slow-moving, and took a good mile to thin out even a bit. We ran down Hennepin, around the Mill City Museum, and over the Stone Arch Bridge. I was able to run the entire way , which was my goal. I passed the finish line triumphantly, with plenty of people behind me. All week I had been having visions of being dead last, the float carrying Miss Aquatennial about to run me over, clowns pointing and laughing. 5K run? Check.

–Mrs. Wonderful

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Elizabeth said,

    Rex-Goliath is already a teenager. (You can tell by looking at the first two pictures.) (:


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