Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a girl named Morgan, who did a very silly thing. She signed up for the hot chcolate 5k, a race in January, at the recommendation of her labmates. “Run this 5k with us” they said. “It will be fun” they said. Only is wasn’t. Unless of course you count type II fun as actual fun, which Morgan generally doesn’t.
Her alarm roused her early, long before the sun was up. Morgan struggled out of her warm cocoon like blankets and scurried to the living room where she promptly turned on the heater. Huddled by the warm, Morgan donned many layers of clothing. First, were wool socks, then fleece lined leggings, flannel pants, a soft moisture wicking long sleeve shirt, followed by a jacket, another jacket, and finally a third jacket. Thusly equipped, on the way out the door, she snagged her race packet.
The cold air was abrasive. The car Morgan entered, however, was not. It was blissfully warm. Almost too warm, if Morgan hadn’t had the forethought to remove some of her jackets prior to fastening her seatbelt. The ride to the nearest MARTA station was short. Morgan was excited, you see, because she has never ridden on MARTA. The plan of the day was to ride MARTA to and from the race to avoid parking lot woes. Forsooth! It was not meant to be. That’s not how the story goes.
Instead, a van pulled into the parking lot next to a pretty, shiny, blue car. Out popped an energetic lady, who happily called out “Are you going to Hot Chocolate race? Do you want a ride?” Some dubious looks passed through Morgan’s group of friends before deciding yes, they would accept the ride. Morgan chatted with the two women up front. They were part of a local running group. The lady who offered the ride had spent most of the morning shuttling members to the race. After being dropped off, Morgan and her friends sought the rest of their group’s parking place.
A bit of wandering and backtracking ensued, before they finally found their friends’ car. Sadly, there was not enough room for everyone, but Morgan was one of the lucky four who stuffed into the backseat. There she stayed toasty warm, until it was time for gear check and corrals. Morgan grappled with her additional layers of clothing. Getting dressed in a car, squished to the max with people was a slow thing.
Morgan was happy that she didn’t have to wait in line at the gear check. However, without her extra layers, Morgan quickly became cold. Waiting at the starting line was the worst part. She jumped and wiggled, trying to stay warm, yet her toes and nose never warmed up. They remained at the starting line for what seemed like forever. Cold makes the time pass slowly. Finally, it was their turn. Hip-hip-hooray! At the sound of the buzzer, Morgan was off on her way.
At first there were so many people, that she could barely walk. Eventually the congestion cleared up allowing Morgan and a couple of her friends to set off at an easy jog. Morgan was pleasantly surprised at how good she felt jogging. Usually, she finds any bipedal locomotion above a semi-brisk walk unpleasant. Morgan and her friends ran on the flats and downhills and slowed to walk for the up hills. Together they conquered the route as it wound them through urban sprawl. Perhaps running with friends makes running not so bad after all.
Mile marker one. Mile marker two. Mile maker three. Suddenly, the end was in sight! No more walking, just running. So close, and yes finally! Across the finish line. The finish funneled everyone into a big open area. This race was very well organized. There were no line for picking up your gear, or for getting your finisher’s mug. Morgan was frozen, so she split from her group. Even though she just finished running a 5k, she jogged to the gear check to try to stay warm. Upon receiving her extra clothes, Morgan tried to zip up her jackets. Tried being the operative word. Her hands were so cold that they couldn’t grip the well enough to get the zipper started. Defeated, she went in search for the rest of her herd.
One kind friend (with unfrozen hands) took pity on Morgan and helped her zip up her jackets. Now for the treat. After all that running and being cold, Morgan dove into her snack of banana, pretzels, rice krispie, and more dipped in melted chocolate. The center piece of the prize was a cup of hot chocolate. Mmm chocolatey goodness. Once their tummies were sufficiently full, getting warm was next on the docket.
Morgan caught a ride home in friend’s car. She was warm and cozy, squished in the middle of the backseat. The ride was short for her place was the first stop along the route. She hopped out of the car and waved farewell. That’s the end of the story; there is nothing left to tell.
**Dedicated to Nancy, for she asked me long ago to record one of my adventures as a story**