As we drove toward the race site yesterday morning, I told the girls about an article I read that claims to help runners get through their first 5K.
Me: So, when you travel under the Start sign, you visualize Yellow. Yellow is a smooth start. Taking it slow. Feeling out your surroundings. Maybe choosing a person you want to sort of stick with during the race. When you reach the 1K mark, you picture Pink. You’re catching your groove. You’re maybe moving a little faster. It’s okay to walk. It’s okay to run. You’re starting to be In It. At the 2K mark, you’re at Orange. You’re starting to think about goals. You’re figuring out where the water station is. You’re keeping an eye on that person you chose as your pace partner. IT’S STILL OKAY TO WALK. You’re reaching the halfway point. All is well. At 3K, you’re Red. Red will take you through the final tw0 kilometers. You’re focused. You’re determined. You’re winning this thing even if you’re not technically Winning This Thing. IT’S STILL OKAY TO WALK. When you finally see the finish line? Picture FIRE. Throw your arms up into the air and take the finish line like a champion, because that’s the winning photo finish that everyone deserves!!! And then you can NEVER say that you’ve never done a 5K.
The girls were in. Totally in. (It also helped that I promised a hot chocolate drive-thru after the race. Hot chocolate motivates more than creative visualization when you’re nine. I’m cool with that.)
Shortly after starting the race (Yellow!) and finding an open area to get going, Meredith asked the question of the day.
Meredith: Okay! Okay! Yellow! Okay! How many Ks in are we?
Me: According to my GPS thing, we’re 0.37 of a K in.
Meredith: So we’re done with 3 Ks?
Me: No. We’re not quite halfway into the first K.
Meredith’s friend: HOT CHOCOLATE!!!
We ran more than we walked, and I’m pleased to report that walking was always their idea. (I was so afraid that I would slow them down. I didn’t want to affect their race, and I especially didn’t want to ask them to walk when they felt like running! Confession: I was really nervous about this.) We ran, we drank water, we walked, we always kept the zebra in our zone, and when we saw the finish line, we felt Fire.
After the race, as we walked back to the car…
Meredith: Mom, in the sunlight, your hair is orange.
Meredith: Your hair is orange. What does that mean?
(Sometimes I use links when I’m talking to my kids so they can catch all of my drifts.)
Meredith: Put your hat back on.
Meredith’s friend: HOT CHOCOLATE!
Meredith keeps me laughing. Meredith keeps me sane. Meredith prevents me from looking like an unintentional Carrot Top. She’s a good egg.