“I’m not certain the words “fun” and “run” should be used in the same sentence, but I’ve met some people who seem to enjoy running, a lot of them at the company I worked for in Georgia. Running races and participating in community 5Ks was part of the culture of the close-knit place, and on my interview I was asked, “Are you a runner?” Instead of answering “Fuck no,” immediately, I thought about it for a minute, since it seemed important and lied, “Not really, but I’m thinking about starting.” This wasn’t a complete lie, as I did think about running sometimes. I hoped this answer would be sufficient and we could just move on and never talk about running again, but as I learned, there were A LOT of 5Ks in the community, and participation was strongly encouraged. I couldn’t think of much I’d rather do less than get up early on a Saturday, hang out with the people I’d been with all week, and fork over money to do it, but I was polite enough to wait awhile before I said this out loud, (which I eventually did).
I started my job there in June, and there was a Community event and race on the Fourth of July. It was a holiday and my boyfriend and I were going to hang out and he was going to make a bunch of homemade biscuits, this seemed like a much better idea to me, but people kept encouraging me to participate, it seemed like the thing everyone was doing and I was new, so I obliged. There were two parts to the race you had the option to register for, the 5K, and the shorter, 1 mile race, titled the “Fun Run.” In typical underachiever fashion, I thought, “Well, I can still do this, smile and show up, but not have to run three miles at 7am on a holiday in blistering heat.” Seemed perfect, what could go wrong?
Here’s what: I showed up a couple of minutes late, but The “Fun Run” started exactly on time, and since the participants were mostly 10 years of age or younger, and the fun run consisted of what looked like one lap around the park, by the time I got there, it was over. “Shit,” I thought, but I spotted a group of my co-workers-the real runners-in the distance, and decided I’d walk over and say hello and just pretend I’d completed the fun run, I figured nobody had seen me yet so nobody would know the difference.
I wandered over to the group who were doing stretches and lunges and whatever else it is runners do, thinking I’d say a few hellos then be free to go home and eat biscuits, but before I could successfully escape, I was spotted by the President of the Company, who was attractive, soft-spoken and kind, and had a sexy foreign accent; I realized I’d reached the point of no return since smiling, nodding, and saying yes in his presence is what I think everyone did. “Hello Doria, he said, so glad to see you here today, do you need a Tshirt for the run?” “Yes,” I nodded and smiled.
So there I was, in blistering 100+ degree weather on a holiday, having “fun.” I found a group of fellow slow-pokes to stick with and we stuck it out, mostly walking at a brisk pace, dripping with sweat, and praying for it to be over. After working there for awhile, it became kind of a running joke when people would ask me about the upcoming weekends event. “Are you coming?” Blank stare from me. “But there are T-shirts!” Since I’d often spend part of the week watching grown men have meltdowns over selling frozen fish or getting stuck in strange airports in the middle of nowhere USA, a T-shirt seemed like a crappy consolation prize for giving up part of my Saturday.
“That’s great,” I’d say, “I have pancakes and a bed at my house, that’s where I’ll be Saturday morning.”
The 5K race was an official timed race, so now a google search of my name shows that I completed a 5K in 48 minutes, like any real competitive go-getter would. My hope is anyone looking for any information will just assume, “Well, it doesn’t look like she’s very athletic or especially talented, but maybe she’s fun…”