I think the last time I had worn pink was my junior prom 30 years ago, when my tux included a pink tie and cummerbund because my date wore a pink dress.
Because somewhere along the line, the old trope that “guys don’t wear pink” got stuck in my head, and so I just didn’t. Which is pretty stupid, because who cares?
And I also don’t run just for running’s sake, not because of any gender roles, but because I hate running.
So why was I at the starting line of a 5K … in a pink T-shirt?
The event was a fundraiser for Crossroads School, which serves students with autism. It’s an excellent cause, and the 5K raised more than $40,000.
My contribution was modest — the fee for my wife Suzi and I to sign up, plus donations from both my parents and my closest friend.
The pink T-shirt was because I had signed up early. Apparently, there’s one color T-shirt each year, and this year’s was pink.
But much like I avoided the dunk tank during the family fun day before the 5K — the better to make sure no one got brained by an errant toss — I wasn’t planning on running the 3.1 miles.
I would be walking, which I would have done if I was by myself, but especially because Suzi had agreed to take part, and she hates running more than I do.
The serious runners took off first, heading around the technical school hosting the events before hitting the rail trail, the same trail Suzi and I walk near our house.
Then there were the people who weren’t actually trying to win a race (everyone got a number and was timed), but we’re still running, even if they weren’t running much faster than a walk.
And then there were the walkers … spread out throughout the back. I am a monstrously competitive human being, so even though Suzi and I weren’t running, I didn’t want us to be the last people, either.
The staff members working the event had yellow T-shirts, including Jamie, who teaches the TurboKick classes I take at the Anytime Fitness where I go to the gym.
About a dozen of us were there because she asked, as over the past 2 1/2 years the class has become something of a community.
TurboKick is basically a choreographed cardio kickboxing class, and it originally started Thursday mornings at 7 a.m. I was one of the originals, and just so you know, “Lucky for you I didn’t die” (she forgot to give me a waiver until the end of class) is a great icebreaker, because if the person you’re talking to doesn’t run or back away verrrrrry slowly, they must think you’re OK.
I was up, anyway, plus I live four minutes from the gym, and in the early part of 2017, I was feeling like a fat slug, so I started going to get more exercise.
Problem was … more than once, I was the only person there other than Jamie.
Which is why the class isn’t Thursdays at 7 a.m. anymore.
Now it’s Monday nights at 7 at Saturdays at 7:30 a.m.
Several members of the group go to both classes. Others only do Saturdays, and others, like me, only do Mondays.
You’ll find me in the back right-hand corner. I originally staked out that spot because I didn’t want anyone to see what I was doing (for a long time, I found it traumatic that we started taking the class facing mirrors) and now it’s accepted as “Bill’s spot.”
The rail trail starts along the highway before eventually moving into the woods.
It’s a pleasant stroll, with the added bonus of a scenic overlook that the designers must have realized would be popular, because there’s a paved cutout with benches off to the side. It also happened to be at the two-mile mark, so it was a convenient place to stop, rest for a moment and get a picture before hitting the homestretch.
It was like most walks Suzi and I take, where we admire the scenery and solve all the world’s problems.
The 5K was out and back, and since everyone else in our group got out ahead of us, they made the turn long before we did.
The good part about that was that I could high-five them as they came back through, along with a complete stranger who was wearing a Liverpool jersey.
Because CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, BABY!
Typically, Suzi and I work out Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. It’s good for me. I enjoy the exercise, and it’s a good way to clear my head.
Yet, even though I always feel better when I’m done, I’m always willing to skip it to take a walk instead or if something else is on the schedule or one of us just isn’t feeling it that day.
Yet I never feel that way about TurboKick. I recently had a change to my work schedule that I had no problem with other than the possibility it may interfere with my Monday night class. The good news is that it doesn’t look like it will.
The exercises are fun, but the group is more fun. If someone goofs up, no one cares. If Jamie goofs up, she cries out in something between real and mock horror, and probably says one of the regulars should take over because we know the routines better than her (we don’t), but usually everyone ends up laughing.
It had been an overcast, relatively cool morning, warm enough for a T-shirt and shorts without being uncomfortable.
As we walked back along the trail by the highway, right before turning back toward the school, the sun came out. It was nice, but I was glad we were almost done, not to mention my knee was starting to bark.
For some weird reason, the thought of “I have to walk three miles” had me concerned I wouldn’t be able to do it, even though we’ve had days in New York where we walked at least twice that, even if wasn’t all at once.
Suzi, who walks 2 1/2 miles on the treadmill when we go to the gym — including when I’m in class — had no such worries.
Jamie greeted us as we got close to the finish line, and then Suzi challenged me to race the last 20 or 25 feet.
Between her little bit of a head start, the surprise and … let’s be honest … my legs not being able to fire at all, she got me by a couple seconds. I laughed.
I figured it would take about an hour, and we clocked in at right about 57 minutes.
Our class has a group text in case Jamie needs to let us know something, and the text thanking us came later that night.
She also asked for any pictures people had taken, so I sent mine, and someone — I’m not sure who — suggested we make it an annual thing. I’m game.
So yeah, I’d say people had a good time.
By the way, the pink shirt looked pretty snazzy.