We Ran the Great Inflatable Race and Lived (Mostly)

I signed my kids and I up to run the “Great Inflatable Race” last Saturday. I'd seen the ads for years and finally, it was conveniently timed and in a convenient location and not even too hot out yet. Of course, as soon as I hit submit on the tickets (not really, but close) my eldest instantly had a conflict with baseball, so my youngest and I went alone. 

To prep for this race, I bought this super cool Batman-esque belt that some runners wore when the Cleveland Marathon passed my house because there is not a single event that can’t be improved by shopping. 

I looked so cool. 

I did not do anything to prep fitness-wise because I’ve exercised 4-7 days a week religiously since 2015. I’ve spent the last 4 months weight lifting. I knew I could tackle all of the obstacles without any problem. I even remembered to wear long pants to avoid friction burns on the slide.  I had it all under control. 

When we got to the race, my kiddo decided we should both wear our official race-day shirts, so I changed out of my (much cuter) tank top in the car. The registration desk person (ahem unfriendly, ahem unhelpful) gave me a youth large T-shirt instead of an adult large T-shirt, so I taught my kid how to stretch a T-shirt using your knees and elbows. Hashtag valuable life skill.

We went to the “Jump Village” before the race. We did the joust. I felt terrible upon entering the joust because I outweigh my 11YO by nearly double so obviously, I was going to decimate him. Spoiler: he creamed me. I knocked him down once. I felt terribly guilty for whacking my youngest child with a large padded pole and sending him sprawling. Then he knocked me down. I no longer felt guilty. Then he did it again. And again. I didn’t want to play that game anymore. 

We did the “jump from giant red ball thing to another” thing. It was…scary. I am 45 and I now think of things like the probability of pain a lit bit more than my 11YO does. Or did. 

I think he might revise his opinion on “this might hurt” thing since he fell on said giant red ball thingie and strained his back by folding up in a way that backs don’t normally fold. But we were not to be stopped by a little back injury. 

 We lined up at the starting gate at our assigned time. We enjoyed the festive music. We contemplated the first obstacle—a giant slide.

I climbed. My newly improved arm strength didn’t let me down. I slipped a few times, but I recovered. I wavered for a moment at the top from a combination of the whole “fear of pain” thing and also the whole “wow it’s high up here” thing. I slid. I only got one tiny friction burn on my elbow, unlike the woman ahead of me who skinned her leg. Then we were off to the next obstacle, which meant running. My legs were happy to stretch. I felt like a young filly let out of the barn. For about 10 feet. 

The breathing.

The breathing was hard.

It hurt.

The sun was hot on my head.


The 11YO was inching away from me. Finally, I told him to go on without me. I spent the rest of the race admiring his back, but it was a very nice back complete with race day cape. 

I power walked and ran and only took the cut-through shortcut twice. I tried really hard. But I had underestimated this whole running thing. 

Cardiovascular fitness. Don’t have it. My legs could have run for hours—ok, at least 20 minutes at a stretch. But the lungs could not keep up. 

Did I mention the sun was hot and my head felt like it was going to explode from heat? I was happy to encounter delays at the obstacles which allowed me to catch my breath. 


Running hurts.

Sun hurts.

Utility belt water bottle good. 

We finished in 35 minutes, which was shocking because it felt like 3 hours. But I was proud. My kiddo was proud. He wore his race medal for the next 4 days. I went home, showered, and became one with the couch for the rest of the day. 


Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do another race. But next time I’ll prep with some cardio and endurance training beforehand.  Or I’ll at least walk sometimes. Or take the stairs on occasion. OK, maybe next time I will once again click "sign up" with no preparation but at least hopefully the next race will be on a less hot day. 


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Copyright © 2019 Lara Lillibridge

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