Running has never been part of my exercise routine, but last month I entered a 5K at the prompting of my son-in-law, Curtis. He has been motivating people at his work place to become more physically fit by signing them up for 5Ks in our area. The Turtle Krawl, a 5K run/walk is an annual event to benefit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. Curt, Rachel, and the boys signed up, and my youngest daughter, Sarah decided to register, too. (Her husband was out of town that weekend, or he would have joined us.) I realized if my husband and I registered, the whole family could do the race together. I nudged him by bringing it up a week before the event.
“I didn’t think you’d want to walk that far,” he said. (The 5K is about 3.2 miles.) He knew I wouldn’t be running, but even walking that far can be a challenge for me these days, especially if I try to walk fast.
“I think I can do it. Let’s do it for the turtles,” I said. “Besides, it will be fun to do as a family.”
Besides the togetherness, health benefit and charitable cause, I wanted to do the race so I could write about it. It’s like those scrapbookers who have such neat stickers they take pictures purposely to use the stickers. My husband chuckled when I gave him that explanation.
When I went online to register, the website indicated only the first 2,000 people were guaranteed to get one of the cool Turtle Krawl T-shirts. The number already registered was 1,900. I signed us up, and Curtis picked up our packets along witht his co-workers’ packets.
My race number
A few days before the event, I asked my five-year-old grandson, Connor, “Do you know you’re going to be in a race this weekend?”
“Yes, it’s called the Turtle Krawl.”
He wrinkled up his nose and said, “Do the turtles chase you?” I explained no turtles would be racing, but I wouldn’t be much faster than a turtle.
Saturday, the morning of the race we were up at 5:30 a.m. The family met at our house where we put our shoe tags and numbers on. Connor’s shirt was so big we had to pin up his sleeves. By 6:15 a.m. we all piled into our mini-van for the 30-minute drive to Indiatlantic. I could hardly believe I voluntarily got out of bed before dawn on a weekend to participate in a race.
The sun was just coming up when we parked and walked over to the starting line. Curt took his position at the 9-minute-mile mark. The rest of us planned to walk, so we stayed well to the back of the starting line. As they gave the go signal, I was glad the start time was so early. September in Florida is still hot and humid. We would finish before temperatures climbed into the 90s.
The family ready to go
My hubby and daughter, Sarah stayed with me throughout the walk, slowing their pace to match mine. As we made the first turn, a woman on crutches passed me followed by the speed walkers. “It’s okay,” I told my husband. “I prayed that I would be able to cross A-1-A (busy highway) while the police were still there stopping traffic.” I hoped to finish in about an hour. Much later than that, we would have to cross A-1-A by ourselves.
All along the route, volunteers held signs and cheered as people went by. The first one said, “Go, random person, go!” My favorite sign was, “Worst parade ever!”
There were two stations where people handed out cups of water. Another sign read, “Do it for the turtles,” and I had my husband take my picture with that one. Nearing the end, a sign read, “You’re the slowest person so far.”
Do it for the turtles.
I knew we were some of the last stragglers walking. That was confirmed when one of the orange-vested volunteers picked up a couple cones blocking the street and walked behind us. I felt like they were literally rolling up the route as we walked by. We were still applauded and encouraged by the people at those posts along the way, though. I appreciated that so much.
The one hour mark had passed, and the finish line was still not in sight. As we approached A-1-A, I was glad to see a police car and an officer waiting for us. Thank you, Lord. We made it there in time.
Coming in the home stretch felt great. The clock read 1:13 (one hour and 13 minutes) as I crossed the finish line. Curt finished in about 30 minutes, and Rachel and the boys were a few minutes ahead of me. She ended up carrying little Connor piggyback for a good portion of the race. She should have received a medal for that.
Made it to the finish line.
After rounding up our gang we drove to Cracker Barrel for a sumptuous breakfast to celebrate our accomplishment.
The turnout for the event was over 2,000 people this year, and I’m sure the sea turtles will appreciate the money raised. Our family added 5Ks to our list of things we do together.
How about you? Does your family do anything like this together?