We paced a zebra.

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.

Me: What?!

Meredith: Your hair is orange. What does that mean?

Me: It means I shouldn’t┬áhave gone with Dark Chocolate Brown just because they were out of Natural Black! Argh!

(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.

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9 thoughts on “We paced a zebra.”

  1. Good job with the race! I think I might try again. Less weight means my knees might handle it. Rebecca wants to run too. Maybe a mother daughter thing. You have inspired me!

  2. A pacer is always a good idea. We tried to pace Mr. Thompson, but we had a little meltdown at the end…oh well, we’ll try again on Nov. 17.

  3. I am in awe… if you mad Photoshop skills! Seriously, great race! As soon as winter comes and goes, am getting my girls running too.

  4. Huzzah! This is the most appealing description of a 5K I’ve ever heard. I have never personally felt like running was something I needed to do, but if I did, I’d like to go with you. And Meredith. Hot chocolate!

  5. Fire! I LOVE that concept. Think I will see if it can be applied to, say, a day full of housework. Putting in the laundry — yellow. Good start, OK?. Inevitable success because the machine will finish the job for you. Wastebaskets and recycling out for trash collection? Pink! It was gonna get done eventually anyway, but now it IS done :-) Two more loads of laundry in = ORANGE. But, uh oh, the stuff from the dryer is just in a big pile on the bed. Better ramp it up a little. I really want to go out in the yard for a while though — maybe take a little break for some tea and the morning paper (it’s ok to walk, right?) Hacked back all those overgrown roses and hydrangeas, hauled them down for yard waste pickup AND cleaned up the peripheral messes? RED it is!!! Laundry folded, client paper reviewed and comments returned, PLUS progress made on completion of deadline-driven sewing project? FIRE, baby!!!

    Hmm…I see a small flaw in this analogy, however — crashing into bed at the end of a long day amid all those flames? Not ideal. Might have to allow for some sort of cool-down period. A nice soothing green, perhaps?

    Way to role model for your girls & their friends, Angie. Happy congratulations to all :-)

  6. SO awesome… I didn’t even think about running until a little over four years ago, and now when I do races and see kids running alongside their moms, that’s what I hope for my future kid(s) – especially a daughter, but don’t tell me boyfriend that. Girl Power, all the friggin’ way. ;) Congrats to you and the girls on the race!

  7. Oh dear. Hair color is some strange alchemy. I have to mix my own peculiar shade of ashy blonde tones in order to get a nice deep normal brown on my head. Darker and I’m Elvira. Warmer and I’m one of those old ladies of Mediterranean descent who has tried to lighten her hair and ended up orange. My mom once tried a different formulation of her usual bright red shade and came out of the bathroom looking like Strawberry Shortcake. After getting that corrected she let it go to its natural gray.

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