Friday Five: Marci Gump

Every Friday I’ll indulge my order-crazed brain in a list of randomness. Welcome to my Friday Fives.

So, I’m running a 5K next week.

Did I forget to mention that?

Of course I did. Denial is a powerful drug.

If you looked at a dartboard of my comfort zones, it would include music, books, writing, cooking, dogs, family, photography, computers/design, pop culture, sarcasm and peanut butter. Being athletic has never been on the list. Not even close. I’m talkin’ bottom of the bottomless barrel.

I have horrible, life-scarring memories of the PE tests in elementary school with me being the last kid running the mile, crying as everyone watched me struggle. When I was young my parents sent me and my brother to tennis camp and I couldn’t serve up the damn ball. When we had our final assessment at the end of the two-week camp, I bartered with my coach, offering to help a girl clean sunscreen that had exploded inside her gym bag rather than take my test. (It didn’t work.) There are these humiliating moments dotting my life when it comes to not being athletically coordinated.

And then a bit of a reprieve. I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 12. Finally!, I thought. My days of having to pretend to participate are over. I have a valid excuse. I have a way out. And, I’ve used it, believe me. I’ve milked the asthma-card so hard that even IT can’t breathe.

But, here’s the truth:

I go to the gym a lot and my asthma has never proved a huge concern. Nothing I can’t manage, even without my inhaler.

I’m stronger than I think. Stronger than I’ll let myself believe.

To prove this to myself, I signed up for the local Color Run back in January, full of resolution and drive. And now, five months later, I’m a little more unsure of the situation. A 5K isn’t far, I know this, but there is still an uneasiness about the entire situation.

Here are some of the thoughts running (har har…har) through my mind at the moment:

5. I’m not a runner.

This is where I blame my asthma, the altitude, my high arches, my general uncoordinatedness. Yes, I can play a 70-minute Mahler symphony, but make me run outside for 30 minutes and I’m a mess. Or am I? (See number 3.)

I picked the Color Run for a reason. It’s not timed. People throw color bombs at you while you run past checkpoints. It’s totally chill. And I need chill right now.  “The Happiest 5K on the Planet”?? I can get behind that.

color run

4. I’m an inside girl.

I can run my heart out at the gym on the treadmill or elliptical machines, surrounded by the comforting familiarity of air conditioning and Law and Order re-runs. But the idea of unforgiving asphalt, uneven ground, thin air and inescapable heat (yeah, right, most likely COLD) has me a little weary.

3. Shut up, Marci.

I’m not worried about what others think of me, but I know the criticizing voice in my head tends to tell me I can’t do things like this. It shouldn’t be so easy to talk myself out of things I know, deep down, I can do.

I remember being 13 and traveling overseas with People to People ambassadors and we were going to climb a mountain (not like Utah mountains, UK mountains…okay, big hills). I think I made it halfway up before ducking out and climbing back down to the city’s safety net to wait for everyone. I think I even got ice cream while I was waiting. How pathetic is that? I just didn’t think I could do it. Granted, my asthma diagnosis was fresh off the file (whoooop, there it is!), but I probably could have done it. I regret that moment still. I’m not going to let that happen again. So, shut your trap, inner Marci. Let me do what I know I can do.

2. I’m not alone.

I won’t be running alone next Saturday. My friend Anne has graciously agreed to stay by my side. We will hopefully get in a few practice runs this week together to see how it goes. Joe will be there on Saturday cheering me on and documenting this momentous occasion. For you, but mostly for me. I need them both more than I let on.

1. In sickness and in health?

I haven’t even been to the gym this week (not to mention I haven’t even been running outside yet to train) because I’m trying to fight off this nasty cold. I’m worried about the running making me feel worse. I’m also worried being sick is making me less excited, less happy, less encouraged to do this. I’m worried I’ll use it as just another excuse. I’m trying not to. Really, I am.

The point of this post. The point of this run is to break some boundaries I’ve set against myself. To rid myself of the habit of excuses no longer valid. I can run 3.1 miles. Easily. I can detach myself from the sad girl running around her playground’s soccer field while everyone watches. I can do this, and I will.

There is no longer nowhere to run, but there is nowhere to hide. This might just be the most vulnerable 5K ever run.

Throw me some good vibes next Saturday and I promise to post a recap of how it all (and, hopefully not me) went down. And then you can surely look forward to my next post.


5 thoughts on “Friday Five: Marci Gump

  1. So, I have several comments. (Actually, Bobby does…)

    1. I too was always last to run a mile in gym class. Only after awhile, they all went inside, and it was just me and the student teacher. I currently run a 60 minute 5K.

    2. I was a good swimmer. But I never had the strength to pull myself out of the water at the end of the lap, so I’d have to swim to the ladder to get out. There’s also a locker room story for another forum….

    3. I was on the basketball team for my 6th grade class. Besides being beat up and pinched by my own teammates, I was pretty much not good. One day we were running laps, and I was lagging behind (probably because my lungs were on fire). The coach yelled “Hurry it up, Sean!” I said: “I’m saving it for practice!”. They yelled: “THIS IS PRACTICE!”

    4. I’m proud of you for taking this on! It’s a big deal! Run like a steady breeze! 😉

  2. Pingback: # a 5k first | hashtag marci

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