Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Act 2; Scene 41: A 5K with a Fish Tank

The "Roberts" before the race
Carson w/ Little Robert, Robert C, Robert Luke, Robbie, and Robert M.

This past weekend, my brother Sam's Lacrosse team hosted a fundraiser 5K in Cottonwood Heights. My mom signed up the whole family to participate. I jokingly called our team the Robert Team (Sam of course was nowhere to be found near us--he spent his time with his Lacrosse buddies). 

And because this was the Robert team, of course Little Robert had to be included. Little Robert also known as a "big fish in a too small tank." Because that is what I have decided he feels like at this time. My stomach has become a sloshy fish bowl that I think is huge. But Little Robert is a rather large fish living in that little bowl, which he apparently thinks is much too small. When he swims around, that tank (aka, my tummy/bladder/ribs) really feels it.

Anyway, since Little Robert was to be included in this family affair 5K, it turned into me power-walking the race with an 19 pound fish tank just inside my skin. Now there are a couple of things about doing a 5K with a fish tank imbedded in your stomach:
#1--The faster you walk, the bouncier that tank becomes. 
#2--The bouncier the tank becomes, the more it bounces right on your bladder. 
#3--The harder you breath, the bigger the tank expands.
#4--The bigger the tank expands, the more it pulls down on your skin. 
#5--The longer you walk, the heavier the tank becomes. 
#6--The heavier the tank becomes, the more your back hurts.

The race started out great. Mom and I made sure to be at the front of the line to give ourselves the best head start that we could. After being nearly plowed over by sprinting Lacrosse players, the girls chasing them, and a bunch of running strollers pushed by moms, everything was great. We were even walking faster than a lot of the power walkers around us. "Yes!" I thought. "I won't be the last one--I know I exercise every day for a reason!"

The fish tank first started to present a challenge about 5 blocks into the race when we started ascending the giant Dolphin Way hill. Although you can't tell how steep in this picture, you can get an idea--it is a very, very steep and long hill:

A few of the near by power-walkers passed us by on this hill, but we were still ahead of a few of them. (Hurray!) 

After peaking the top of the hill, we started making excellent progress. There is a slow, steady gradual incline next that lasts for at least 6 blocks. Mom and I were passing people right and left as they waned with the gradual incline. "Slow and steady wins the race!"I thought to myself. 

By the time we rounded the corner after the long gradual incline, we were about half-way done with the 5K and feeling pretty good. Just using one of my hands to hold up Mr. Fish Tank so he didn't rip my stomach skin off seemed to be working pretty well. Taking slightly smaller steps also helped decrease the bouncing on the bladder problem. We had this thing down!

The second half of the race was nearly all down hill. Normally a really great thing, right? Well...if you take a look at #1 and #2 you will see that walking faster (with gravity helping you) isn't all that wonderful when carrying a fish tank inside of you. Also, if you take a look at #5 and #6, you will realize that half way through the race means we have been walking for a while--also not a really great thing. And if you take a look at the rest of the numbers you will realize that the 2nd half of the 5K, even downhill, was bound to be the most challenging.

Remember all of those "power walkers" (more like power strolling) that we were passing for the past 6 blocks? Well, as soon as they realized that there was a significant length of downhill approaching, they decided to turn their power stroll into a lively little jog. With the help of the gravity, that lively little jog became a quick-paced run. There was no way that fish tank inside of me was going to let me get away with doing that kind of thing.

In fact, about 3/4ths of the way through, one hand supporting that sloshing, expanding fish tank was not enough. My back muscles were starting to feel the strain, and my lungs couldn't quite get around that expanding tank. I had to take a little stop to refresh my stomach muscles (also working over time) and my back muscles. Fortunately, a minute or less seemed to do the trick--at least enough of a trick. Unfortunately, the fish tank would not allow me to bend over and stretch out my sore back muscles. Maybe in two months.

After that little refresher and two hands holding up the fish-tank, we were good to go at a slightly faster pace. We rounded the bend for the last quarter mile, and all of a sudden I realized that we weren't passing any people. In fact, we weren't even around any people. I looked behind us and saw two little girls casually strolling along, just behind us in the race. But I didn't see anyone ahead of us. "What?! Am I that far behind?!" We could hear the noise of the crowd just around the corner, and all of a sudden, fish tank or no tank, I realized we had to book it--we were going to be last! No! We couldn't take longer than an hour, that would just be embarrassing!

We picked up the pace and really power walked it the rest of the way. We turned into the high school parking lot, and saw the huge crowd--all at the food booths not even interested in the finish line by this late hour. We also ran into a couple of the other Roberts, who had gotten worried about us and come back on the trail to make sure we were ok. I looked at the giant timer clock and saw "1:00:17"--meaning one hour and seventeen seconds. My new goal became to get in before that hour turned into an hour and a minute. 

My mom and I crossed the finish line at 1:00:32--hurray! Greeted by our Roberts, since no one else had been interested in that area of the 5K for the past half hour. We made it in ahead of only those two little girls strolling and gossiping lazily towards the finish line.

Immediately after crossing the finish line I went up to my Robert and asked for a lower back rub. Thank heavens! Doing a 5K with a fish tank in your belly is really hard on your back. I'm just glad that my number one fear--having to go to the bathroom two seconds into the race--seemed to be averted, thank you sweat. 

But I'm proud to say that I have participated in my first "real" 5K--even while carrying a fish tank. Even though I'm slightly embarrassed about it taking a whole hour, at least we finished it, and kept going the whole time! I am also glad to report that my back has finally seemed to recover from Saturday.

Happy 5K-ing!


  1. I'm impressed no matter what number you finished :) your whole family looks great :)

  2. Congratulations to Team Robert.
    I remember going roller skating when I was very pregnant. What a hoot. Had a number of people worried and I just simply did not understand that, at all.