There's a scene in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) where Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) stands at the edge of a hotel pool -- naked -- contemplating what he's about to do. His wife and kids are back in the room, yet he's moments from jumping into the pool to skinny dip with a woman, played by Christie Brinkley, that he just met on the road.
He swings his arms wildly in front of his body and manages to say, "This is crazy. This is crazy. This is crazy." before jumping into the water. Like most events in the movie, it doesn't end well for ole Sparky.
I've had my share of "This is crazy." moments in my life. Some were borne of peer pressure. Others were the result of stupidity. And a few were because I thought I was invincible.
Example: In 2009 I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) without training. I was out of shape and had no business pushing my body that way, but a friend said "hey you should run this race seven days from now" and I somehow thought it was a great idea. On race day, I stood at the starting line, thought "this is crazy," and then made it the entire 13.1 without walking. I hadn't been diagnosed yet, but I was going through testing and knew something was wrong with me. I think I ran that day to prove that I was OK -- to show myself that I was still me.
I tried another half marathon later in 2009 but it was a complete disaster, and I haven't run since. My big news: I signed up to run a 5K in September. I'm medically cleared to do this, but that doesn't diminish my nervousness. Right now, I can only run in two-minute intervals before transitioning into a walk. I'm following a training program designed for people who have never run before, because that's my new reality. I need to forget my athletic past.
The race is in Jackson, Mich., and while it's not as close to home as I would have liked, I chose it for three reasons:
1. I need a race with a big field. Races close to where I live are smaller, and that means there's a good chance I could finish last. Who needs that kind of ego crusher?
2. The run is hosted by a hospital, Allegiance Health, and is part of a family wellness day. I like that. And I like knowing there will be lots of doctors and nurses around!
3. I spent eight days at this hospital back in 1997 with a bacterial infection that most likely caused everything I'm enduring today. This needs its own blog entry, and I'll try to get to that soon. But I really like the idea of running on the same site where I was once so sick.
The race is September 8, 2012, and although it's only 3.1 miles, I'm having a bit of a "this is crazy" moment. Can I do this? Am I healthy enough to train? I think these things, yet all I want to do is jump into the pool and take my chances. When Christie Brinkley asks, "are you gonna go for it?", the only reasonable answer is yes!
I can think of two ways that friends and family can help me achieve my goal:
1. Consider running with me or being there that day to cheer. Race information can be found here.
2. Consider training with me. I will be running on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Join me! Let me know if you're in town, and help me get prepared for this race. I need every push, every good vibe, and every ounce of energy I can get.