Damara Hutchins

Off the couch and on the road

The Foundation Florida Hospital 19th Annual Gala Bill Jarret Ford 5K Run/Walk and 10K was last Sunday. I know what you're thinking, "That was a long title for a race." Yes, I did type it directly off the souvenir shirt because there was no way I would've remembered all of that.

This was my first "real" 5K. I did the scavenger hunt race, but we had a bunch of stop-and-go action in that one. This time, it was straight walking. No, I didn't run.

I walked with a coworker, Reesie, and a former coworker, Melissa. Reesie is like six inches shorter than me and super petite, but she somehow managed to walk incredibly fast. I did have to jog a few times just to catch up with her.

My son also participated, but he left me in the dust immediately. I saw his head towering over most of the other racers near the starting line and then I didn't see him again until I finished. That's right; I finished, but before I did there was an excessive amount of whining coming from my mouth.

First, 3.1 miles doesn't seem like a long way until you start speed walking it. Second, trying to talk while walking becomes more difficult the further you go. This is all very obvious, basic information, but I am an extremely slow learner. In fact, I did not shut up the entire time.

Melissa was smart. She barely talked at all. Reesie chatted away like breathing was just something happening as an afterthought.

One weird note: the road was littered with dead frogs. It was pretty gross. I couldn't help but think of Frogger except none of these frogs were very good at avoiding traffic. The road only had two lanes for Pete's sake.

After a little while of breathing heavily, I said that I was having a new onset psychosomatic asthma attack. I asked Reesie if I collapsed, would she render aid. She said it was her day off. I was all alone in a crowd of walkers. The runners were gone. At least we were close to a hospital.

When we saw mile marker 2, I asked if that meant we were entering mile 2 or finishing mile 2. Melissa said we were definitely beginning mile 2, but none of us saw mile 1. Reesie said she wasn't sure. I was disheartened. That would have been the longest mile ever.

When we approach the 10K sign that directed those overly athletic people to divert their course, there were runners already returning from that direction. I was impressed. Their bodies were glistening with sweat as they pumped their legs down the road.

"I am so out of shape," I thought to myself.

When we heard the loud speakers, we knew the end was near. I almost wept.

The best thing about the event besides the fact that is was finally over was that people were cheering when we crossed the line. It didn't matter that my time was 50 minutes. What mattered was that we did it. It was truly a good feeling.

My son finished with a time of 26:22. He said he didn't push himself because it was going to be a big week in basketball training. What a booger.

I'm already signing up for my next one, only now I'm putting more effort into getting ready. Maybe I can get a time of 48 minutes. Baby steps. I mean, really, I am waking muscles that have been lying dormant for years.