I have a confession to make: I am a slug.
Not that I don't work hard (most weeks, anyway). In fact, my job has kept me so busy these past few months (investigations, confrontations, resignations) that I haven't really had much time to blog.
Which leads to the whole sluggishness issue. After some long days at work - not to mention school activities, a volunteer project and too many weekends traveling - I've been so tired that I haven't had the energy to get up and go for a run.
But, you say, exercising gives you energy. If you just haul yourself out of that warm bed and into the great outdoors you'd feel SO much better all day. I know this. Did I listen? No. And I have gotten flabby.
So, in a burst of enthusiasm, I registered myself and my two children for the Illinois Marathon  5K later this month - even though I have not run regularly for months. My son and I ran our first 5K two years ago, and my daughter is eager to try.
I figured I'd just run as far as I could and then walk if needed. My 8-year-old may not be able to run the entire distance anyway.
Or she could surprise me. Those darn kids have a big advantage over their arthritic parents. Youth. Energy. Good knees. The list goes on.
Last year, my son managed to improve his time by 3 1/2 minutes without any training. Meanwhile, I ran 3 1/2 minutes slower. Things could deteriorate this year.
The other night I told my daughter we should go for a run just to see how much she (and I) could handle. I had visions of happy mother-daughter bonding. Plus, she knows how to dial 911.
Let's just say it was a rocky start. Ever the optimist, she shot out of the yard in a sprint, with me yelling, "Whoa, whoa!" I tried to explain that we have to warm up first, then run at a steady pace so we can "go the distance," to quote Kevin Kostner (or whoever the voice was in that movie).
She was not down with that. She pouted. She planted her feet and refused to walk. She asked why I had signed her up if I thought she couldn't do it. (I think she was hungry.)
I was not the model of patience but tried to explain that she couldn't sprint for 3.2 miles, and had to build up to it. I finally just started walking, hoping she'd follow. Which she did - with tiny baby steps. I'm sure the neighbors enjoyed this drama as it played out on the sidewalk.
Eventually, I coaxed her into a jog. After a few blocks her side started hurting. So we walked for a bit. Once we got to the park we ran again, but this time she got a leg cramp. I resisted the urge to say "I told you so" - or at least those exact words. I think she got the message anyway.
She felt better after some time on the playground, and we ran another half-mile or so. All told, we covered about 2 miles, and she ran at least at 1K. Not a bad start.
Of course, training time is short. I told her we'd take it as it comes, and just see how we do.
We will keep you apprised of our progress (if there is any to report).
Click here  to read about our virgin effort at the 5K in 2010!
Julie Wurth writes and blogs about family issues and covers the University of Illinois for The News-Gazette. Leave a comment below, contact her at (217) 351-5226 or firstname.lastname@example.org  or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jawurth .
Photo: A couple of first-graders tackle the 1K in 2010. Julie Wurth