My First 5K… A Cautionary Tale

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Well, I did it. A friend of mine called me Friday afternoon. The conversation went something like this:

“Dude, I think I may be able to get you a ticket to come run with me in this Zombie 5k on Sunday. Do you want to do it?”

“Sure, sounds like a blast.”

“Sweet!”

“Super sweet!”

Yeah, cause when I talk to old high school friends I suddenly become a 15-year-old stand in from the box office failure “Dude, Where’s My Car?” The point remains, I excitedly volunteered to join in my first ever 5k without any prior training or experience. For those of my readers who also happen to be runners, you’re either looking at this and laughing your ass off or asking yourself if I have lost my mind which are both valid and acceptable responses. Having never participated in a five kilometer (three mile) run I had very little understanding of what I was getting into.

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See how blissful and stupid I look. Yeah, that doesn’t last.

So here is how it worked. You have three tags attached on a belt around your waist. My belt was not long enough to go around my waist so instead I looped it through some belt loops and left all the tags dangling over my ass. If a zombie grabs a tag, you lose a life. Your goal is to make it to the end of the 5k with at least one life. This guy, this guy died around the half mile marker. I ran, I jogged and eventually I just walked most of it. Let’s face it, I was not prepared. The trail took us around sharp curves (some of which I ran into the wood line on) and up steep, steep, incredibly steep hills.  After all, it was a run being held in downtown Nashville, not like it was going to be a straight shot on a level plain. Zombies were lurking on bridges, in bushes and scattered along the trail in every conceivable place. There were “Rescue Stations” where you could get more lives and hydrate… which I took FULL advantage of. That’s right, this guy didn’t just die once, he died a total of six times. That takes talent. Meanwhile, separated from the group I started with and experiencing more fatigue than I have felt in years, I encountered horrors like this:

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Zombies. Freaking everywhere. I mean, I know why I do the zombie walk every year now. It’s because I get to be the eater, not the “eat-ee.” I don’t even think that last word is a real word but it is staying because that’s what I felt like. Finally, as that glorious third mile marker loomed on the horizon, an hour and some change and six lives later, I felt accomplished. I may only make it a quarter mile or so in a zombie apocalypse but I finished this run and intend to do it again next year. Only next time I will be ready.

So, until we meet again, this is Danno, coming to you from a near coma on the couch reminding you that zombies hate fast food.

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About Danno

Dan Lee is a freelance writer, horror fiction author and independent publisher, and horror culture correspondent living in a small town outside a major Southern metropolis. His articles, interviews, editorials, and fictional works continue to run on several sites and publications. He is also one of the resurrectionists behind the return of the Nashville Zombie Walk (2017).
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