“Our group runs are as social as a cocktail party in motion.” Kristin Armstrong
A few months ago, two of my “non-runner” friends independently sent me a link to an event called “The Chardonnay Run”, a 5K followed by a wine and cheese event. My friends associating me with running and wine brought a smile to my face.
Sounds great, I thought, let’s get a team together. I’m most often running solo or with one other person, but it seems that when a 5K involves a little wine with your favorite moms and passing on kid duty on a Sunday morning, I can round up a group. The result was a morning of teen-like squeals and genuine laughter, and a 5K that entailed about 6 hours away from home.
Melissa and Lauren, both excited for their first race, picked me up around 7:30 in the morning, a full hour and a half before start time. Lauren took a picture of me approaching the car, as I greeted them in my Team Happy Hour tank and rainbow tutu. We then met Jessica, Allison, and Lisa in the parking lot by the start line.
Each of us contributed our share of fun to the race. There was Melissa who had cut her race run top and transformed it Project Runway style, and was worried about her shorts that seemed to keep sliding down. Lisa, who loves a theme party and trained for the race by drinking 2 glasses of Chardonnay per night, asked Jessica if this race was associated with any charity. Jessica very seriously answered, “Yes, it’s the ‘Help Keep Moms Sane by Giving Them Wine’ charity.”
Allison was relieved that this 5K went so much better than her last one…on that run she had last-minute accompanied her 10 year-old daughter on a 5K event. As soon as the race started, her daughter sprinted off and finished way ahead of her.
Lauren was just thrilled to have made it through the race leak-free and not need to stop back at the car for her back-up pair of pants. In the hour before the race, we had made a bathroom trip no less than 5 times. When you have 6 moms who have birthed 17 kids between them, everyone is worried about their bladder and leakage, some more than others.
And for me, the “runner” of the group, the race did bring out my competitive side, as I enviously scanned all these groups of women who made team run-shirts with much more creative sayings than mine, and were sporting cute run skirts and costumes. Some of the best shirts were “I tried running but I kept spilling my wine”, and my personal favorite one was “I can make wine disappear, what’s your superpower?” It made me determined to come back next year with my crew in costume and take these women down.
After the run, there was of course the chardonnay, cheese, and chocolate….a live band, lots of wine barrels, and photo-ops. We asked the young girls serving us what made them decide to volunteer for this race, and they informed us that they were getting community service credit for college….helping these mamas stay happy certainly is community service that benefits everyone. We also learned that the underage boy volunteers had no idea how much a standard wine pour is supposed to be, so that it was much better to have your wine glass re-filled by one of them.
We sat on the floor in a circle with our second pours, basking in sunshine and delaying getting back to life and kids as long as we could. I even started an impromptu game of duck-duck goose which didn’t last long, since some of us could not get back up once we were sitting down with our wine.
As I was relaxing on the floor with these women, most of whom I met through a mom’s group when I first moved to LA, I looked around and was reminded of why I love runners and running. You see, runners are much like mothers. They are an all-inclusive community.
When you have a child, you are suddenly embraced by this community of supportive women who know exactly how you have just been transformed. You have one kid or four, you gave birth to them, used a surrogate, or adopted them…. you are a single mom or divorced or in a two-mom family or any other number of possible scenarios, and it does not matter.…you are mother. You are welcomed into the mom’s club and immediately bonded.
Running is really the same. On this day, as in other races, I observed all varieties of groups of people laughing and taking pictures together…cheering on others walking by. Running brings people together as different groups form and decide to either walk or run their first 5k or their 50th marathon. It’s all inclusive. Whether online through a blog or runner’s forum, or through a runner’s group; there is support, encouragement, and respect for every one of every age and size and pace and distance.
Running is community. It becomes home.
So how long did it take us to do the actual running part of the event?? Probably about 30 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, since it wasn’t a timed event and we didn’t keep track. But what was more important than our time was that as we approached the last 100 yards, all 6 of us held hands as we giggled and crossed the finish line towards our wine.
**The first name of all my friends have been altered, as several are social media shy, and even if they aren’t, they probably don’t want everyone to know about their bladder problems.