#11 on my list of 30 Awkward and Uncomfortable Things to do Before Turning 30 is to run a 5K. Last Thursday, I realized it’s getting mighty chilly in Utah, and since the cold almost literally paralyzes me, I knew I would have to run my 5K soon. So I got online and found that there were several 5Ks in the area the following Saturday. As luck would have it, the race closest to my house was also the cheapest — and it also happened to begin at the most humane hour of all the local races that day (10 a.m.).
The race was called “Race For Your Relationship,” an unclear title that left me scratching my head. Nevertheless, the cheapness, closeness, and lateness of the race fit my criteria, so I signed up — completely unaware of what I was supporting.
On the day of the race, I had butterflies in my stomach. It was like I was going on my first date again — I could hardly eat, I was a bit snippy, and I couldn’t focus on anything my family said to me. I have no idea why I was so nervous, but I think it had something to do with my insecurity at my hodgepodge outfit of an Old Navy tank top, maternity yoga pants from my first pregnancy (don’t judge — they’re uber-comfy), and scrunched down tube socks.
Yep, that was most definitely the issue.
While waiting for the race to begin, I asked my husband to take a picture to document my race number pinned to my shirt — the number made me feel oh-so important. Unfortunately, every picture he took made me look unflattering in some way, and so I kept demanding retakes while he lost patience and told me I was ridiculous for scrutinizing my appearance so much. We began to almost-fight, and then laughed — we were at a race called “Race For Your Relationship,” after all. After a hug to ease the tension my nerves were causing, I requested another half dozen pictures and he kindly obliged, not even rolling his eyes once (although I’m certain he had some inner eye-rolls going through his head — who wouldn’t?).
The race began, and I set out on my incredibly slow-paced run. People passed me left and right (or more accurately, on the left because that’s the polite way of passing). About a mile into the race, two cheerleaders were positioned with pom poms. As judgmental as it may seem, cheerleaders — and the popularity they represent (in my head, anyway) — always make me feel like I’m an awkward 16-year-old again, wishing and not wishing all at the same time to be noticed by the cool kids.
To put it another way, I was not pleased to see the cute cheerleaders while I huffed and puffed on my lonely journey in my maternity yoga pants.
But surprisingly, their cheers and high-fives lifted my spirits and I smiled a dumb smile. The next two times I encountered a pair of cheerleaders during my race ended up being uplifting moments. Along with completing a 5K, I may have passed a personal judgmental hurdle in my life — this is big, folks.
I finished the race in 33 minutes and 9 seconds, which was faster than I thought I could do, but not fast enough to be proud. I’m eager to try this again, but it will have to wait until spring since the weather is supposed to become ridiculously cold tomorrow.
The “Race For Your Relationship” ended up being a race to raise money to support programs that help teens in abusive relationships, something I am now proud to have unknowingly supported.
And personally, the “Race For Your Relationship” ended up being a big win for our marriage, as I saw once again the kindness of my husband who was willing to sit around for 33 minutes and 9 seconds, doing his best to keep our two little monkeys happy, just so I could have a cheering section.
My gosh… who does their hair? Oh, that’s right. Nobody.