XO-LP // Laura Palmer

A Love Letter History.

The day I ran a 5k.

Dear 28,
I found myself willing it to thunderstorm at about 6am. I hadn't trained for 3.1 miles. I hadn't even picked out what I was going to wear to run the race. I hadn't thought about goal mile times. I hadn't really done anything but sign up. And now the day was upon me, so I took the first step: I got out of bed.
At one point in life I was a runner of the serious kind. It should be mentioned that I was in high school, but still, I was a runner. In the 8th grade Mr. Brown (my Muskie friends will cringe at the mention of this man's name) convinced me I should join the track team, so I put on the polyester green shorts and a CMS t-shirt and practiced on the cinder track behind my parents' house. The first race I ever ran, I anchored the 4x200 meter relay. We were on pace to beat the record and about 10 meters from the finish line, I fell face first on the track. I can still hear the collective gasp the crowd let out (it was terrible). Surprisingly I continued to run track after that. We even went to the Junior High Championships. (Be impressed.) By the time 1998 rolled around, I celebrated my 15th birthday in Drake Stadium at the Iowa High School Girl's State Track Meet- I liked to run. In the years that followed I hyperventilated after running my one and only 400 meter dash, which meant I had a supply of brown paper bags with me at every meet and I managed to never fall in a race again.
Even back in 1990. (This photo should embarrass me. In case you weren't sure, the kid that looks like a young man, that's me.) I threw on some serious jorts and my best glasses and hit the pavement for the Watermelon Stampede. Here we are 22 years later (whoa. that's absurd) and I'm worried about what to wear to the race...
Chelsea was in far better spirits than I- she even made me some oatmeal and loaned me a pair of shorts. Eventually we checked in, so this race was officially happening. We stretched out with the rest of the runners, listened to the man with the orange microphone make announcements and, the best part, had the girl in front of us inform me that "some of my friends are real runners and they say this is, like, the hardest 5k they've ever done." Shortly after that the gun went off and we slogged forward. It was clear at the 1 mile mark that my training regiment had failed me (not drinking for a week and eating additional carbs is apparently not all you have to do to be race ready) and by the 1.5 mark, after passing someone else's unfortunate breakfast upchuck, I felt like I could do the same.
(Chase documented our race. Thanks Chase.)
Good thing my terrific race partner kept me motivated. (I'm skipping over the parts where I said "is it over yet" or "why did I sign up for this?" or "running. ew.") The last leg of the race Chels unplugged the headphones and we ran to the beats of David Guetta. As we got close to the finish line we were welcomed by the Isiserettes, which gave me just the motivation I needed to dance-run my way to completing the 5k. There's no way I could have done it without you Chels.
So I didn't run the entire thing (feels good to tell the truth) but I finished and, oddly, am ready to do it again. Maybe I'm still a runner after all these years of couch sitting. The next race I'll be ready for.
And, unlike in 1990, I got to celebrate post-race with a margarita and a nap.
xo- LP