Last summer I ran my very first (and only) 10K race. And I’m using the term “race” very loosely here. For me, the only race involved was against the event crew responsible for disassembling the finish line timing system.
I had been challenged to run it the summer before by my friend and then soon-to-be fitness & running mentor, Sophie. I had just finished watching her crush the amateur women’s field in the 2013 MalmöMilen when she casually announced that her goal for the 2014 race was for Dr. Darling and I to run it, too. I literally laughed outloud … as did my Swede when I told her about the gauntlet that Sophie had so casually thrown down in front of me.
But then I made the mistake of blogging about it, prompting several friends to chime in along the lines of, “If you do it, I’ll do it with you!” (Needless to say, I have some truly great and COMPLETELY CRAZY friends.) And thus began the quest to get my fitness level to the point where I could actually run a 10K. From there, Sophie morphed into the now infamous “Coach Bad-@$$” and a tight little group of co-conspirators formed to keep each other motivated and on track and was dubbed “Team Sopherocious”, so named for the woman who believed I could do it even before I did.
When the race rolled around in June of last year, nearly all of the original team members did indeed run it. However, our dear friends Laura (who blogs here) & Kunal did not feel 100% ready, and unlike the rest of the crew, they had the parallel issue of having to find someone to look after their young son during the event because baby-joggers were not permitted on the course. (It also did not help matters that our near-nephew’s favorite babysitters were also running the race.) So Laura & Kunal & Aadi served as our top cheerleaders, taking up positions at several points along the route and capturing lots of wonderful photographs documenting the team’s participation in the race.
Afterwards, I felt extremely proud of both Team Sopherocious and my own personal achievement, but was also thoroughly convinced that there was no need for me run 10k all at one go ever again. That is, UNLESS Laura & Kunal were going to do the 2015 MalmöMilen, in which case I would definitely run it to support them as they had so steadfastly and brilliantly done for me the year before.
As of this writing, the jury is still out on whether L&K (AKA their new couple name “Love&Kisses” that I just thought of at this very minute!) are going to run the MalmöMilen this June, but my status as a “firm maybe” changed on Saturday afternoon.
It was then, during an impromptu fika with the Sonic Youth (our couple name for Sophie and her partner Matilda … which I only recently found out has been a source of envy for Love&Kisses), Sophie, somewhat out-of-the-blue said, “I am so excited for the MalmöMilen because you are going to kill it compared to last year!”
As near as I can tell, my facial expression did not reflect what was going on inside my head, which was a very loud and painful wail of “OH CRAP.” I couldn’t even look at Dr. Darling as I replied, “Well, I can hardly do any worse than I did last year. I was lucky to get in before they packed up the finish line.”
Sophie barely acknowledged my self-put-down, continuing, “You’ve come so much further with your running since then, and I’ve got some great training plans for you for the spring.”
Cue another silent scream of “OH CRAP.” The last time I trained with Coach Bad-@$$, we ran 1k intervals and her warm-up lap was the fastest kilometer I’d every run in my life up to that point. It is true that I’ve continued to run for fitness and have recently recorded a couple of personal best times for 3.5- & 5k respectively, but until that moment … the 2015 10 kilometer MalmöMilen was still VERY MUCH optional.
Yet sitting across from Sophie, all killer smile and infectious enthusiasm, I knew I would be forking over that race fee. Because as has been established over and over (and over) again, I cannot refuse Sophie anything she asks of me … to the point where my Swede has actually wondered aloud what she needs to do to get a similar deal.
“It’s going to be so awesome,” Sophie exclaimed. “I can’t wait!”
Me neither, Coach. Me neither.