I took Z to her first 5K on Saturday. I didn’t really mean to. I signed up because it was a costume-wearing opportunity. Then I realized that they had trick or treating so I decided to take her. But, I didn’t know what to do with her while I ran so I decided that she was doing the 5K too.

I was going to be a fairy but at the last minute I couldn’t find my wings so I went with witch.

Z was Merida from Brave.

We got there early to sign her up and this guy was running around sneaking up on people.

Z completely lost her mind. Oh the joys of an autistic kid who is not firmly tethered to reality and who I forgot to medicate! She ended up screaming and crying because he looked at her. I finally got her to shut up by threatening to take her picture and post it on Facebook. Yeah, if it was true terror that wouldn’t make you shut up so fast.

We got to the start and I explained that because we were going to walk that we would go to the back of the group and let the fast people be up front. She lost her mind. She started yelling that she was a fast person. I said that no, actually she wasn’t and besides I meant people like my dad who race all the time are at the front. She wasn’t having it. I told her that I was going to stay right behind her but if she got separated from me in the initial crowd that she should go to the side of the trail and wait. She said, “You’re right you’re going to be behind me because I’m faster than you.” I’m not opposed to some trash talking but this kid is nasty and out of touch with the reality that she is an overweight, out of shape couch potato. She truly believed that she was fastest person there.

The race starts and she takes off at a full sprint. She’s weaving through people like a maniac. I chase her down in time for her to drop the crown off her head and stop to pick it up and almost get mowed down by a herd of runners. I tell her to stop it because she’s got 3 miles to go and can’t keep this up. She takes off again. I catch up to her at about 1/4 mile where she slows down to breathe. I order her to walk. She does for a few steps and then runs again. At about 1/2 mile she stops and says, “I don’t feel so good.” No kidding, kid.

From there I had her run to landmarks and then walk. We also worked on pacing. She only had a full out sprint and a walk. I set a really slow jogging pace and had her keep up with me for sections.

There were people in costume on the trail.

Eventually we came up to the guy that she was terrified of previously. I told her that all she could do was run. She ran screaming.

It was a nice walk along the towpath of the old canal.

At 1 mile in the leaders were coming back. She started trash talking them. “Why do you have to run so fast? Why are you showing off?”

At 1.5 mile I heard her invoking my father like a deity, “Oh, Grandpa Ron, if you could only help us now!”

I decided she needed a goal so I pointed to some walkers a ways ahead of us and told her that our goal would be to pass them. I was not specific enough. When we passed them, she turned to them and said, “We’re beating you!” I told her that they now had permission to beat her right into the ground if they so desired. For our next people we decided to try to pass I told her that we were going to do it “without being a jerk” and made her repeat it several times.

When they passed us in return she wanted to run but was worn out. She made a big show of “allowing” them to pass her.

At one point she started complaining about me. “How is it even possible that you are faster than me?” I told her that I had longer legs, was in better shape, and worked out more. She didn’t like that explanation. I also told her that I was strolling and asked if she wanted to see me walk fast. She declined.

Soon we were back to the guy she was afraid of. He remembered her and was going to leave her alone but I told him to make her run. He took a step towards her and she screamed and ran.

Flying monkey guy and I stood back and watched her run shrieking down the trail and then high-fived.

I’m just glad we didn’t get chased by these guys.

That game always stressed me out.

We finished in 50 minutes which is my slowest 5K ever but it was good for her to get some exercise.