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  • Kristan Higgins

Ah, humiliation!

Updated: May 2, 2022

This week, something very embarrassing happened to me. I know what you’re saying. Why should this week be any different, Higgins?


Well, two (or so) embarrassing things happened. One, I decided to run once again in the 10K race my town sponsors. So I did. Granted, I haven’t run since last summer, but how hard could it be? The thing is, back in the GOOD OLD DAYS of the race, there was only the 10K. It was all or nothing. Sort of a medieval religious torture kind of thing…show your unworthiness to God and He’ll take mercy on you. If you ran, even sluggishly with frequent stops for near-death experiences, you’d still finish ahead of the walkers or the professionally unfit.

But in recent years, the sneaky organizers have done something different. They offer a 5K. Therefore, everyone who’s not quite up to running 6.2 miles can just turn onto Pickett Lane and run 3.1 instead. Smart, right? The less-than-stellar runners—runners who haven’t run since last summer, for example—can easily turn and run the shorter course and finish without too much pain and humiliation.

I chose not to turn. Nope. Hey, I’ve run 10Ks before! Surely I could do it again!

To sum up how I did in the race, here’s an excerpt from my conversation with my mom:

Mom: “I was very worried about you when you ran past. You looked horrible.”

Me: “Thanks, Mom.”


David Bowie in “The Hunger.”

Mom: “But even worse than you was this really, really old man about 30 yards behind you! Kristan, I thought he was going to drop dead.”

Me: “He passed me.”

Mom: “You’re KIDDING! How embarrassing. Well. I’m proud of you, I guess. Just don’t run again next year.”

But no, that wasn’t the end of my humiliation. I was running behind a woman I’ve known for decades. She’s quite nice. We’ve had many, many conversations when I visit her workplace. Sometimes I call her for advice on my pets because she’s very knowledgeable. At any rate, I was chatting with her after the race, trying to avoid going into the tunnel of light.


But the thing is, I thought she was someone else. You know how that is? You know you know this person, but it’s out of context, so you can’t remember who the heck they are. Was it Anne, Erin’s mother? I thought it was. Anne has long hair, and so clearly this must be Anne. “Hey, how’s it going?” I said. “How are the kids?”

She gave me a strange look, probably because she doesn’t have kids. She brought me an orange slice (probably correctly assessing me in some state of blood sugar crisis).

“Thanks,” I said. That Anne. So nice.

“Where’d you get that orange slice?” Princess Daughter asked.

“Anne got it for me,” I said. The Anne person gave me another look.

A few minutes later, I remembered her name. Gina. From the vet’s office. Right. But now too much time had passed for me to acknowledge that I thought she was Anne, Erin’s mother. So I just said, “Thanks again, Gina!” and hobbled off with my children, who offered to carry me, as I was breathtakingly sore and very close to death.

Napping ensued, I’m happy to tell you.

Will I run the 10K again next year? You bet I will.

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