Friday, November 18, 2011


The training is over. For two long -- and really, oh so short -- months now, we've been working toward tomorrow's race. And, yes, we've come a long way.

That first class, we ran and walked a lap of the track behind the Y, rested, and then ran and walked another lap. Then, we were done. Our instructor, Julie, was sooooo nice. We went our merry ways, thinking that this was going to be a breeze.

Then, Attila showed up.

Crystal took us through the woods -- The what? The woods?!? The heck, you say!!! -- up the hill from the soccer fields and then a couple of laps of the track. And, still, we weren't done. Wait a second, Crystal said. Before we head back, we're gonna do some sprints.

Sprints? Really?

Remember the signs on the track that told us where we could walk, and the ones that told us to run? Remember how they where there for a week or two, and then mysteriously, they were gone? Remember how we sat in the lobby of the Y the night that it was raining, thinking no way in the world we were going to run outside?

Then, Attila showed up.

We went outside, hit the service road, got soaking wet and in the process, became Team Attila.

It was Crystal who got bored with the track behind the Y and told us to meet her at the one in town. When she mentioned Progress Lane, I knew we were in trouble. To this day, I can hear her yelling at me all the way up the hill on Progress, and then again as we headed up the last hill toward the courthouse.

Go. You can do it. Go. Don't you dare quit. I know it's hard, but do not give up.

Crystal missed her calling. She should have been a drill instructor. The time changed and it was dark by class time, so surely, she would go easy on us. Nope. Brandy picked us up some blinking red lights -- my son, Jesse, called it my tail light -- and off we went in the dark.

Julie, somewhere along the line, got serious on us. Do five laps and pick up the pace each time around. C'mon, you've gotta be kidding me. When I told her that she "used to be the nice one" and she thanked me, again, I knew we were in trouble. Julie became an official Attila.

Jennifer became the Queen of the Service Road. Up one hill, down the next and then back up again. Mary ... CAR!!! The amazing thing was that Jennifer never stopped running from the front of the pack to the back, continuously circling like a vulture ... no, wait ... like a really good 5k instructor. Jennifer was Attila, too.

And Wendy, the quiet one, always smiling, almost apologetic as she was about to kick the ever-lovin' crap out of us. It was Wendy who first put us on the 5k course itself, and it was Wendy who took us to the other service road, the one from McDonald's to Billy Reynolds Road and back, the one with Mount Everest at one end and K2 at the other.Wendy, an Attila? Oh, yeah. You betcha.

For me, that was the toughest session. The strangest was the last one, in the dark, on the track behind the Y, using flashlights to hopefully make sure we didn't wind up in the ditches.

I don't know how tomorrow is going to turn out. I want very, very much to finish in under 30 minutes and this is the first time I've set a goal for myself that I'm not quite sure I can meet. All I can do is give it my best shot and see what happens. That said, I'm looking forward every bit as much to seeing how Mary, Debbie, Mandy, Brandy and Leslie do.

Here's the deal, ladies. Tomorrow, at some point during the 5k when you start getting tired, ask yourselves this question -- W.W.A.D.?

What Would Attila Do?

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