This truly wasn’t one of my goals when I started embracing the healthy coastal lifestyle a little over three years ago. I had no idea at the time that I’d push my body to the lengths I would, trusting it to take me all the way to the finish line.
A little over a week ago, I completed my first 5K. That may not be entirely accurate. I participated in 10Ks when I was a tween/teen for charity, and I took part in the Walk for the Cure 5K fifteen years ago, again for charity. This was my first “official” 5K, complete with bib and medal.
It was a sultry, humid day in the Bahamas. Our cruise ship had been delayed arriving in port, so we didn’t get as early a start as hoped. We were truly hoping to be done with the walk by 10 before the heat really set in. That didn’t happen. We couldn’t even dock until 9:30. Half the ship’s guests were disembarking down the same gangplank as we were, and then there was the half-mile trek from the ship to the starting line, again amongst hordes of fellow travelers that slowly thinned as we passed each beach spot.
By the time my younger daughter and I got to the starting line, it was nearly 11:00 in the morning and the 5K was already twenty minutes underway. It was a warm and humid 84 degrees with a heat index in the 90s (I didn’t look, because I didn’t want to know). My tween and I were set, right down to the bibs safety-pinned to the backs of our shirts.
The track was mostly sun-exposed with just scant pockets of shade. We were lucky to have intermittent breezes to help cool us down. I had my phone’s fitness app to track my progress. I’ll spare you the details (We passed a pink flower. We passed a sign warning people to stay on the trail, etc…). Although my daughter and I ended up getting separated, I waited beside the trail when my app said we had just under a half mile to go so we could finish together. When we finished, my app didn’t show the 3.1 miles I was expecting for that distance, but instead, 3.4 miles – and this was on top of the half mile or so we’d had to walk to the starting line, not to mention the trek from our room, using the stairs, of course.
At the 2/3 of a mile left (WOOHOO!!!) mark, I announced it to my fellow walkers. One responded, “You sound excited about that.”
“There’s a big, beautiful, blue sea just over there, and it calls me!” I sang the last part from the song from Moana. They’re Disney people, so they got it.
I’d seriously considered finishing the walk, ripping off my shoes, socks, and phone, and plunging, fully dressed, into the Caribbean Sea. I practiced the modicum of restraint required to resist doing that. Instead, we went into the bathroom to change into our bathing suits. This was a feat in balance and coordination. You know how hard it is to put a bathing suit on, anyway? Well, imagine that but add in sweat-dampened skin, a decent-sized bathroom stall, and standing on sport sandals; additionally, being solitary, my daughter and I couldn’t help each other make the necessary adjustments. Once properly changed, we stepped around to the side of the building to the showers and flushed all the sweat and salt off of our skins. The rest of the day was a smorgasbord of delightful flavors and carefree frolics in the sapphire blue sea.
I never planned or expected to participate in and finish a 5K. With my knees giving me so much trouble, including having a blood vessel burst behind my right knee the first day of our cruise, I wasn’t sure how the 5K would go. We had been active all week with stair-climbing, swimming, walking, and exploring volcanic caves. Yet, all that activity kept my knees moving. (A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Basic physics.) Even though I found myself wishing I’d heat-trained throughout the summer, I was still proud of my time – under an hour with an average speed of 3.6 mph – and proud of the fact that I did it. Even being a little slack, I’d kept myself in good enough shape to meet this new goal.