"Run, run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me. I'm the Gingerbread Man."
I've always liked "The Gingerbread Man" fairytale. Mostly for the gingerbread, and not so much for the running part. Plus, he does have a catchy little rhyme, and that appeals to the English major in me.
I'd rather eat gingerbread, sit on the couch, and paint my toenails any day of the week than run. Eeew.
So I truly thought my sister Alison was joking when she asked me last night over dinner if I'd be interested in running a 5k with her and the rest of the bridesmaids in August as a "Bachelorette" thing.
I stopped laughing when I saw the earnest look of sincerity on her face.
"Really?" I guffawed. "I mean, seriously? I do not run."
My last memory of running would be from the college days when an entire meal would consist of two leaves of lettuce, a rice cake, and a Diet Coke. I ran back then in a frenzied attempt to stay thin. If I had known what two kids and a lot of watching Thursday night TV would do to me, I think I would have just sat down and had a brownie.
Even when I could run, I hated it. At this point, I think running to the end of my (very short) driveway to get the paper would be disastrous, at best. Why run when you can walk and enjoy the fresh air and the view of the neighbors' enormous van backed up to their front door?
I gave my sister and the rest of the table my reasons for not feeling inspired to run a 5k:
1. I don't like to run.
2. I don't like being outside and sweating. Unless I am on the beach, in which case I can just dip my toes in the cool, refreshing ocean.
3. I don't own any good running shoes. Cheap running shoes from Target to wear to Body Jam at the gym do not count. Plus, my red stiletto sandals are way cuter.
4. I don't like to run.
5. August is hot.
6. I don't wear shorts anymore.
7. I am a much better cheerleader. Why can't I stand at the finish line and hand out water bottles?
8. My iPod is too bulky and heavy to run with.
9. I don't like to run.
10. Running is boring. It would be ever so much more fun to just drive the course. I know this because my friend Erin (who is a runner) and I drove the course of the Marine Corps half marathon a couple weeks ago to hang signs for our friends who were running it. I very much enjoyed riding in the car.
Then they hit me with a real whammy. Did you know that a 5k is THREE miles? I did not know that. That is why I got a degree in English, Speech, and Linguistics. I hate the metric system.
I am usually a joiner. My sister knows this and tried that approach with the "Everyone else is doing it. And Sam and the guys are doing an Adventure Run."
I don't know what an Adventure Run is, but what happened to the good, old-fashioned bachelor/bachelorette wildness?? I may be twenty-faux, but I'll take a darkened club, flashing lights, dancing, some form of alcohol over plodding along down a boring old course in the heat and sunshine that may or may not give me skin cancer. I could be wrong, but I don't think they hand out French martinis at mile 2.3.
I could see that they were not giving up any time soon, so I decided to break out the big guns.
"What's in it for me?" I wanted to know.
They stared blankly at me. I think in their addled little brains, they assumed that I would run for the sheer joy of it. Um, no.
T offered to buy me some real running shoes. Eh, unless they've got lots of pink and are studded with diamonds I'll pass. Hmm...speaking of diamonds...
I glanced across the table at the diamond ring on my mom's (Mimi) finger. The ring that, by family tradition, should have been passed on to me when I turned twenty-one. Mimi has all sorts of excuses as to why I can't have the ring. She swore 6 or 7 years ago that she'd give me the ring if I gave her a grandchild. Two grandchildren later, and now she claims she said "a grandson." I guess I don't qualify yet.
Alison saw me staring at the blindingly dazzling beauty of the ring.
"Mom will give you your ring if you train for the race and finish it." she stated.
Darnit. She had to add the "finish it" part. Mimi looked panicked for a split second, but then relented.
"Oh, fine." Mimi said. "I'll give it to you if you run the race with your sister and the girls."
They've hit one of my weaknesses. Glittery, shiny things. They're like kryptonite to me. I am powerless to resist.
Not really sure if running and getting all sweaty outside is worth it, or if I really believe Mimi this time, but it's worth considering.
Should I follow the example of the delicious, sugary Gingerbread Man and run?
Or should I just eat some gingerbread?