A Secret


This isn’t a juicy secret, like “I think George Clooney is stalking me” or “I found a duffle bag with a million dollars in it” – this is a secret that could visit humiliation upon me. So I whisper it to you with a lot of nervous energy:

I think I’m going to try to do a 5K on Memorial Day.

I fully understand that the world can be divided into several groups, here.

There are those who think “A 5K is 3.1 miles; you are a pathetic wretch if you think that will be a challenge to you. Most race organizers call that a Fun Run; it’s meant for children and people recovering from high-speed auto crashes. Get over yourself.”

There are those who think “Attagirl, pudgy! Go get ‘em! You can do it!”

There are those who think “What’s a 5K?”

And then there is my family, who think “What have you done with the real Prudence? Is there a sci-fi pod transfer required here? Is this a Stepford Wives scenario? Blink three times fast if you need rescue.”

I feel it’s important to re-state a fundamental truth about me: I don’t run.

I go to great extremes to avoid running. I am reluctant to break into an unwilling shuffle halfway across the street if it looks like the garbage truck’s brakes are out. Running, to me, is absolutely alien; it’s something Other People do.

But Barbara thinks I can do it – and what Barbara says, I have come to believe.

(A little sales pitch here, if you need it – Barbara is a trainer at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, Virginia. If you ever thought “No, I can’t…” then Barbara is the one to figure out the path to “Hey – I can!”)

So far, I have run exactly FIVE TIMES. Thrice with Barbara in a route around Body Dynamics (the route is just a hair over a mile), and twice around the manmade lake near my house, which features a 1.5 mile walking path with a line across it every tenth of a mile so you can see just how slow you really are.

My second time on the lake path, I managed to keep up a shuffling sort of trot for two-tenths of a mile. Once. After that, the intervals of “running” between each bout of walking got shorter and shorter… and the thought of going around that lake TWICE to make three miles is almost more than I can stand.

But again – Barbara says I can do it. There are about seven weeks between now and Memorial Day. And maybe after the 5K I’ll decide to never, ever run again… but I’ll be able to say I did a 5K. (Not say I RAN a 5K because there will be a LOT of walking involved!) And that’s pretty astonishing.

Memorial Day, as it happens, is my 58th birthday. Seems like a remarkable, transformative thing to do on a day of significance. I’m scared to even think about it – I’m nervous about training for it. I feel like I should keep the whole thing secret so failure is private… and that’s why I’m broadcasting it here. FEAR SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED TO DICTATE MY LIMITATIONS IF I CAN HELP IT!!

Still – I wish it was George Clooney stalking me.

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3 thoughts on “A Secret

  1. Well I’m bloody impressed (not by George whoever he is following you around), but by this 5K thing. In all my years (nay, decades now), of running (and walking and trotting and shuffling), my feet have trod the path of neither marathon nor fun run. The idea seems terrifying, But you, brave soul, are going for it. I bow before your bravery.


  2. I am so excited for you over this. I have run one 5K in my life and it was such a great feeling when I crossed that line. I am in the “Go Pru” club. You got this!


  3. I, too, am in the “Go Pru” club. I used to be a runner before I shattered my femur, had 3 babies, and blew a disc, but like Sarah, never in a real race/run. Now I hike and walk and backpack a little. This is something you can do, and won’t it feel great after you’ve done it?! And George Clooney is stalking ME BTW.


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