Catholic Exchange Virtual 5K

Long ago, before I had children, my husband and I would run in 5Ks all the time.  Footloose and fancy free, we thought nothing of plunking down $30 each to run three miles, eat a banana at the food tent, and walk away 40 minutes later with a new t-shirt and nice endorphin rush.

Then two things happened that changed our 5K ways.  Firstly, we ran a marathon.  I ran a couple of half marathons.  After training for longer distances like that, getting out to run three miles, let alone pay for it, just didn’t seem worth it anymore.  Secondly, we started having kids.  A lot of kids.  And forking over $60 for racing fees (not to mention finding someone to watch the kids while we ran), seemed a use of time and resources we didn’t want to invest.

5Ks slowly drifted out of my exercise landscape.

When I reached the final, grueling days of this last pregnancy, I told myself that as soon as I had medical clearance, I was going to start training for the Hartford half marathon, which is run in October.  Pregnancy weight does not melt off me, despite producing gluttonous babies who would like nothing more than to nurse all day long.  I’m the sort of person who can only lose weight by that brutal combo of diet and exercise, and training for a half marathon would certainly meet one of those requirements.

But, limping my way through the first postpartum exercise sessions, it became clear that having 6 kids in 10 years does things to a body.  The regenerative abilities I possessed in my mid-20s have not remained constant.  In fact, they have diminished at a shocking rate over this last decade.

Realistically, I would not be ready for 13.1 miles by October.  And, since I’m the sort of person who is very goal-oriented, admitting defeat on the race sent me into a spiral of self-pity.  Poor me, won’t be able to run as far as I want.  I’m not 20 anymore.  This mothering thing is really getting in the way of my professional jogging career.

Whine whine whine.  Blah.

Then I remembered the 5K.  The sweet, managable, healthier than sitting on the couch eating my 4th slice of pizza, 5K.

But I still didn’t want to pay for one.

But I still needed a race day for accountability.

So that’s when I got the Big Idea.  We can run/walk/limp/crawl a 5K together.  We’ll start training now, and on Saturday, September 29th, we’ll have the “virtual 5K”.

  • Mark out a 3.1 mile course.  Design your own run- flat? hilly? on the local high school track?  It’s your 5K, run it where you like.
  • Find a training program and try to stick to it.  There’s lots of good couch-to-5K training plans for you, but don’t feel like you have to run this thing.  The “run/walk/limp/crawl” thing is serious.  Just move your body 3.1 miles at some point on September 29th.
  • Set up a finish line and get a picture of you crossing it.  Send the picture to my email, and I’ll include it in the post-race blog post.
  • Print up this graphic and pin it/tape it to a white t-shirt.  Viola! Free race shirt.

All kidding aside, I think this would be a lot of fun.  A low-key, low-cost 5K that you get to run with people all over the world.

So what do you think?  Are you in?  Grab your jogging strollers, print out your training schedule, and join me on September 29th to run in the Catholic Exchange Virtual 5K.

(restraining myself from ending post with “It’ll be good for your sole.”)



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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