I am not the most athletic person in the world. I am clutzy and awkward and have a gait from my cerebral palsy. I have struggled with severe anemia. And broken bones (one dominant hand, four years ago on Monday; one right ankle, two years ago come late August).
I vowed to get in shape before I turned 40 because of the lessons these ailments taught me. How quickly strength deteriorates. How weakness can sap energy and leave you a tired heap. How walking becomes impossible if I let myself go.
I changed my eating habits. My exercise habits. I seriously started weight training.
I tried to motivate my teen daughter to be active.
And in the height of my fitness craze, I admitted to my girlfriend that someday I wanted to run a 5K. Not walk. Run.
Two years later, she signed me up for one. Training started well, in my half-hearted lazy way. These were my best times: 41:47.91, 41.45.88, 38:51.28.
Two months out from the race my daughter and I got sick with the weirdest head cold.
Regained my strength from that, and tried to go for my second, outdoor, three-mile run. I got caught in a snow squall. Between the cold, the oscillating snow and sun, and my sheer out-of-shapedness, I surrendered at two miles.
Finally, a few days later, I was ready to get out there and do it. I dropped a 15-pound dumbbell on my toe.
It’s not broken.
But I’m not running on it.
This race is going to kill me.