I would like to solve the puzzle Pat.
Cinnamon Stick Em Up
Let me explain. Three years ago while out on a walk, Jim Kornell told me that I would never run a sub 17:15 5K. He provided a scientific explanation that involved femor to tibia length, but all I heard was BLAH BLAH BLAH Oh-No-You-Did-N-T! Now three years has passed and I have run a 17:15 in a dozen 5Ks. The problem is that when the clock hits 17:15, my body is not at the finish line. Details. Facts? I have run between 17:22-17:46 over and over and over.
[Dim the lights and cue the soft dramatic background music.]
Jim told me, that IF I EVER ran a sub 17:15 5K, he would personally bake me cinnamon rolls. My favorite thing outside the world of chocolate cake. Of course these baked babies would be sprinkled with not only cinnamon, but my other favorite spice as well: YOU’RE WRONG. It’s a variation on the HA-HA SUCKER plant that grows in the valley of KISS MY ASS.
The races lined up beautifully: State Street Mile, Vicki’s 3K, and then the first Carpinteria All Comer’s Meet to house a track 5k on the evening of June 15th: my birthday. It was the perfect crime. Who done it? Drea. On the Oval. With the Cinnamon Roll. I got new shoes. I got new LuLu. What could possibly go wrong?
Funny you ask that question.
[Symbols in the distance and a solo spot light.]
Vicki’s did not exactly foreshadow a 17:15 5K. But there’s always a chance. Michael Jordan says, “I have failed over and over and over in my life, and that is why I succeed.” I’m a white girl who can’t jump, but I want to be like Mike. You never know what is going to happen unless you DON’T try- then you are guaranteed the outcome: NOTHING. A nice safe, simple, non-threatening nothing.
The week rolled by dragging me behind it. I was tired. I found myself eating dinner at 4:20pm and trying to convince children that 5:30 was the new 8pm. Nighty Nighty! This isn’t necessarily a bad sign. I took it as my body shutting down for my big explosion in Friday Night Lights. I took my race prep seriously.
Rusty asked me what I thought I would truly run. I saw a legitimate 17:20 -17:25. Tuesday’s track workout short and sweet had me spinning out lap splits descending from 83-80-72 and they felt smooth and powerful. I thought it was wildly optimistic that I would crack 17:20, but hey Halo- it’s my birthday, it’s my birthday. The alternative is that Jim stays right and that is just wrong! My PR stood at 17:22. I needed 8 seconds to roast my rolls and save my sticky buns.
Just in case, I tucked a big tin of a cinnamon roll sin in my track bag. I did not want to be caught cleaned fingered should there by a smoking gun.
The evening was perfect: no wind and cool air. Superman and Lois brought me a balloon and then I watched him crack his 60 second 400- 59.6.
“No excuses here tonight Drea,” Rusty told me. I checked myself for excuses. Phew, I’m clean. No excuses. I felt light warming up and slipped my feet into my fancy pink shoes. I strided out down the back of the track and lined up wearing number 11.
I slid into the first lap right on pace- 83. I flew through the first mile right on pace- 5:31. I went through the 5th lap and the 6th lap and then in the 7th lap Rusty called my split: “89.”
It’s like being a doggie on a chain. You run across the yard with your tongue bouncing and ears flopping panting sweet drooling drips of “I’m Free!” and then SNAP: tight chain, no air, thwap- you lie there on your back thinking “I guess that’s how long my chain is.”
I went through the 2 mile in 11:21. But- my lap split flashed 92. I didn’t think about how slow that was. I didn’t process the quality of SUCK.
Well you should have! That’s some high falootin’ Suck Ma’m. Do you know the track value of that suck?
[Sirens and Blue Lights.]
Ma’m, please pull over.
And I did. I ran to 8 and a half laps – 5 feet short of Rusty- and walked off the track.
Ma’m, I’m gonna have to write you a DNF. This will go down on your permanent record.
Ma’m, is that cinnamon? I’m gonna have to confiscate the rolls.
“I’m glad you did that Drea,” Rusty said as I walked over and sat on my pink towel. I certainly got a new record. I have never quit a race in my life. Here, on my 35th birthday I sat down with my DNF and sticky buns. I watched my teammates finish those final three laps and go home with shiny new PRs. Then they stuck a candle in an ice cream sandwich and sang me Happy Birthday.
I blew the candle out and made my wish. Oddly, it had absolutely nothing to do with running.
I spent the rest of the weekend surrounded by friends and family. AND yes…… I did. Because it’s my birthday. Happy New Year!