The 5K to Nowhere

You know, most people take on a 5K as a way of challenging themselves, seeing how far they can go. They’re interested in pushing their endurance to the limit. My wife Samantha takes a slightly different approach — seeing how little she can get away with.

A few weeks ago, Sam and my daughter Anna “ran” in the second annual What a Girl Wants 5k Race held here in town. This was Anna’s second year, and Sam volunteered to accompany her. Good thing – I was sound asleep.

Sam drove them both up to the park early, and she and Anna gathered with the other runners at City Park, the starting point of the 5K course that would take them through town, down into Kyle Park, up the bike trail, and end at the canoe livery. Sam and Anna started the race together, with Anna quickly sprinting to the front of the pack and racing off on her own.

Sam, in contrast, walked the first quarter-mile down Third Street to our house, and then detoured inside for a glass of water. After a refreshing break, she rejoined the runners passing our house and headed down Third to Broadway, then up to Canal Road.

At Broadway and Canal, the other runners turned south toward Kyle Park, where they ran a huge loop around the park and then headed up the bike trail. That’s when Sam “broke from the pack” by turning north and walking straight up to Main Street—skipping easily two-thirds of the course. A local policeman, curious about the left turn, asked Sam if everything was “alright,” to which Sam replied that she was “just taking a shortcut.” No kidding.

Sam continued to Canal Lock Park and sat on a bench, waiting for Anna. When our daughter rounded the corner, Sam rejoined the race and ran the final quarter mile to the finish line, crossing the line as if she were a triumphant 5K contestant instead of a lying cheater.

Anna, who really did run the entire race, finished in 35 minutes, a great time for a novice eight-year old. She was congratulated by many of the other racers, who noted her stamina and spunk.

Sam and Anna were headed to their car to drive home, when Sam finally got her comeuppance—her keys were at home, left behind during her “water break.” Instead of a quick drive home from City Park, basking in the glow of a successful run, Sam and Anna trudged slowly home. As if on cue, it began to rain, and they were both thoroughly soaked by the time they made it home.

Just for the record, I’m not making fun of Sam—I typically run only when being chased by bears. So good job, girls, and especially you, Anna. I’m proud of ya!

P.S.: A few hours later, Sam walked back up to City Park (her third such trip of the day) to retrieve the car. Looks like Sam got plenty of exercise that Saturday, despite her best efforts.