Readers of this column may recall I participated in a 5k walk/run in Las Vegas earlier this year. Called the Color Run, I finished it by walking most of the distance and got a medal. I was happy that I managed to accomplish something like that and hoped I would continue my fitness progress.

Then COVID-19 hit.

Like a lot of people, I was knocked into a tailspin. A lot of things went out the window in those first few months, and fitness unfortunately was one of them.

I did try now and then. For a while, I went to the YMCA and used a recumbent bike to get my heart rate up. But something got me out of the habit, and I didn’t get back to it. It seemed like a hassle to get into workout clothes and go out and exercise. Sleeping issues due to stress made me tired in the mornings, and my chances of working out went down if I didn’t start the day with it.

Then the Santa Run came to my attention.

This is a run held in Las Vegas during the holidays. Participants either do a 5k run or a one-mile walk. The daring put on a Santa suit (provided by the race) and have at it.

Because this is 2020, the race switched to a virtual one. Someone who wanted to take part would sign up and run/walk within the assigned dates. You had to take pictures to prove you did the activity.

The funds raised by the event go to charity. I looked at it and mused. Surely, I could walk one mile? Especially for a good cause? Before I could talk myself out of it, I signed up for the thing.

I signed up months ago. Last month I got a package: my Santa suit and my medal. An email I was sent told me where to upload my pictures and I think wished me luck. I hope it did because I needed it.

I decided I would do the walk on a treadmill at the YMCA, so I’d have proof I did a mile. For the pictures, I drafted my husband Don because I knew I would be hanging on to the treadmill too tightly to take them myself.

I picked last Saturday, and when Don told me he was ready, I began to dress for the occasion. The pants turned out to be too long, and there was no way I was wearing the beard, so I contented myself with the jacket and cap and hoped that was festive enough.

At the Y, I set the treadmill to manual and the speed to what many would find sedate but was about as fast as I trusted my balance. I settled in and told myself that even though I was out of shape, I could walk a mile.

It wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve done, but I am out of shape. My hands got sweaty as they gripped the handholds and I worried I might embarrass myself and not finish.

Then, when I had less than two tenths of a mile to go, the treadmill decided to go into “cooldown mode.” Which meant it was preparing to stop, short of my goal.

I yelled at it. Don got an employee to fiddle with it to no avail. But my brain was still working because I came up with a way to finish.

The treadmill stopped at .93 miles. I had Don take a picture of the time and then restarted the treadmill, going along until the magical number .07 appeared. Don took a picture of that as well, and I declared myself finished with the Santa Run.

I’m glad I did it, even if I looked a little silly. Even if the treadmill didn’t behave. I did it and I didn’t fall off and I have a shiny new medal to show for it.

But something tells me I’d better get into some sort of shape before the next one. Stay tuned while I see how that works out.