The Tortoise Wins the Race … Sort Of

New Years Resolutions big and small.

Photo Courtesy of Ryan DeHaven
I get a lot of big ideas. When I was little I couldn’t simply be content with the status quo. When I decided I wanted a tree house, a ramshackle clapboard fort wouldn’t do. No I wanted it to mirror Swiss Family Robinson’s ingenuity. Then one summer, I decided if my parents wouldn’t invest in a pool, I would dig a lake in the backyard. Or when I decided to become an inventor, I wanted to create a vacuum that moved by itself or a telephone that had video so you could see who you were calling. I still can’t believe that FaceTime exists. I feel slightly robbed. 

So it came as no surprise when January was nearing that resolutions both big and small were flooding my brain, but naturally, they were mostly big. Maybe in the first month of the year I would run, walk and hike 100 miles. Or I would trek across the United States. Or I’d give up television, Facebook, my iPhone and go completely off the grid and get back to nature. Then I remembered the new season of Girls started in January and that resolution was immediately erased—if I can’t go whole hog, I don’t bother. Or maybe I would take every single class that was offered at my gym. Or go all of January without baking a single batch of cookies. OK, well let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  

While I sometimes do get ahead of myself with my grandiose plans and then have no idea how I am going to execute, like the Swiss Family Robinson tree house—turns out I just had to use my imagination and pretend our van was a tree house. And the lake I was going to dig: After rallying all of the neighbors in my mission and carrying the shovel outside, I then pictured what I could unearth in the depths of our backyard, despite being adventuresome but also terribly girly, the thought of earthworms put me off the lake idea before the shovel even broke ground. 

Clearly I have not started hitchhiking to California. But I did settle on a 5K appropriately named the Commitment Day 5K, which invites you to declare your commitment to starting a year of health and fitness. That I could do. And it sounded like my exact sentiments!  

Bright and early on Jan. 1 my alarm started singing Avicii’s, Wake Me Up. As peppy and delightful as that song is, I was not in the mood to be woken up. Not because I had spent New Years Eve dancing and sipping on champagne, but because I had burned my hands and face the night before on jalapenos. Trust me, it can happen. Read the full horror, here.  

I hit snooze and slept for nine more  minutes but when Avicii started singing again and I saw my message to myself on my alarm, proclaiming, “Get your ass out of bed and go for a run.” I knew I must do what I had committed to doing. I very begrudgingly got up and begin to layer myself in spandex running pants, tall thick orange socks and a long-sleeve shirt from another 5K I did for Halloween. 

My boyfriend who had also made a commitment of his own, a commitment to come and watch me run, opened his eyes a few minutes later and said, “I will pay you $20 to get back in bed.”

I arrived in Farifax to a sharp and biting 28-degree morning. But once I arrived, I was no longer filled with dread at the thought of leaving my dark and cozy bedroom for a bright and chilly three mile run. Instead I was filled with excitement and the resolve to indeed commit to my health and start the year in the best fashion imaginable. 

With any race I run, I always have one goal in mind: Run the entire thing. I am not fast and I don’t win medals, nor do I care to as I know I will never beat a Kenyan or a 16-year-old track star with a five-minute mile. But I do care about running the whole time without stopping to walk. It doesn’t matter if my run slows to a tortoise pace because you know the old adage, as long as I am moving my arms and legs in a running motion, I count that as a success.  
Sure enough even children were passing me. Check out number 199.


Photo by Cassandra Sturos

But alas, it only made me smile. I was up. I was out. And I was running a 5K that I had promised myself to run. 

I finished in 42 minutes. Not my best time, but not my worst either. My boyfriend was waiting at the finish line snapping pictures and cheering and though my lungs were burning and sweat was now plentiful, I felt like a Kenyan. The tortoise carries on! 


Photo Courtesy of Ryan DeHaven