Catholic Exchange 5K GO TIME

So Ken and I had big plans about making today’s 5K a big family event.  We were going to stop at the gas station for the finest in junk food, take all the kids to the high school’s track field, and run our 3.1 miles on cushy rubber while the kids ate Cheetos and hung out in the grass.

But there’s a reason so many horror writers come from New England- it’s because about 65% of all days after September 15th are overcast, drizzly, and overwhelmingly dreary.  But spooky dreary.  Like, you can almost see the ghosts of Pilgrims floating around you.  So Clan Donaldson’s family run day was cancelled, and Ken kicked me out of the house at 10 a.m. to go slog out a 5K on my own.


I hadn’t even made it across the front yard when I was accosted by our flock of chickens, escaped from their pen and looking for food.  They’re practically feathered dogs, the way they’ll follow you around, and I briefly considered letting them tag along on my run, but I thought better of it and went to the garage to get some feed to lure them away from the road.  Then I almost broke an ankle as the stupid chickens tripped me in their excitement about the food.  Then I almost gave myself a heart attack because I caught sight of something out of the corner of my eye that immeditely registered “Ghostly Pilgrim!!!”  (it was my husband’s dead hop vine, disturbed into movement by the chicken stampede).

A good ten minutes lost to domestic duties, I started off.  The first mile passed quickly as I moodily alternated between brooding over the terrain in my neighborhood (when your subdivision has the word “Mountain” in the name, you’re not going to find a flat route), and wondering how I could have Mass said for the Purgatorial earthbound spirits of long-dead Pilgrims without my priest thinking I was crazy-crazy, rather than just amusing-crazy (never came up with a solution to that one).

The second mile was a bit more dicey, as I began to experience burning pain in my lower back, the result of having 0% of my core back in shape after baby no. 6.  I was struck by the extreme unfairness of this vicious circle- because my core is weak, it hurts to exercise, but my core won’t get stronger until I exercise.

Whatever.  Exercise is dumb.  Cores are dumb.  I bet ghostly pilgrims don’t have to worry about their flabby core anymore.

The last mile was spent in a blur of annoyance and pain.  To distract myself, I composed this post in my head, and wrote the first three chapters of my imaginary book.  Also, I thought a lot about the glass of wine I was going to have when I got home.

And I thought about you all.  I can’t wait to see your run.  Tomorrow (or more probably Monday ’causes I’m lazy like that) I’ll write a post with all your pictures and stories in it.  So do it!  Email me about your first Catholic Exchange Virtual 5K to


Cari Donaldson lives on a New England farm with her high school sweetheart, their six kids, and a menagerie of animals of varying usefulness. She is the author of Pope Awesome and Other Stories, and has a website for her farm, Ghost Fawn Homestead.

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