Monday, June 13, 2016

Walking the bleep out of this town

In the past few weeks, my daughter and I have completed two 5Ks and one 10K. I can't run, but we have walked this town like I don't know what. A year ago, I actually thought I had a shot at running these events, or at least jogging them. But now, since I'm falling apart, walking them seems like a lofty enough goal. The first of the three events was in May. It was a quick little 5K - seemed like we were done in no time and had our medals swinging from our necks. I felt a tiny bit guilty for receiving a medal for completing a walk that the average 80-year-old can do, but what the hell - I'll take positive reinforcement any way I can get it.

The second event was also a 5K, but this one was a pet walk benefiting the local humane society. The kid and I took Grover.  Grover is now 33 pounds.  He weighed 11 pounds when we brought him home in March, so he has tripled in size since he joined our family. It usually takes me a least a year to triple my size. Anyway, he uses all 33 of those pounds to pull with all his might. I don't know where he thinks he's going, but he definitely wants to be first to get there. The kid and I traded off as we went along, depending on whose arms were tired at any given moment.  The walk passed through a wildlife sanctuary, where Grover proceeded to eat goose poop any chance he got. Blech.

The third event was a 10K.  I was a little bit nervous about this event for two reasons: the forecast was calling for temperatures in the 90s, and my feet haven't walked as far as that since the whole plantar fasciitis thing kicked off last year.  However, I was pretty determined.  The day before the event, I picked up our race packets at a local park. Just as I arrived, there was a "triumph mile" event where folks with a range of disabilities ran/walked/wheeled down the street with their helpers/companions. It was about the most heartwarming thing I have ever seen in my life. I stood on a corner grinning from ear to ear as I watched these folks head towards the finish line.

When I got home, after picking up the packets, I suggested to my daughter that she pick out her gear that night vs. waiting until the next morning. I knew we'd need to leave at about 7:15 a.m. and I know what my daughter is capable of accomplishing at that hour: almost nothing. I also reminded her that it's much easier to pin the race bib onto one's shirt before putting the shirt on one's body.  Needless to say, she decided to save everything until the next morning, because erupting into a meltdown is always the way to go. I heard her screaming at her dad to help her pin on the bib. He told her to simmer down and stop acting like an idiot. So then she started screaming, "YOU CALLED ME AN IDIOT!" As you can imagine, I could hardly wait to spend two hours (in sweltering temperatures) walking with her.

P dropped us off in the vicinity of the start line so that we could go and find our starting corral. This event usually has around 17,000 participants, so you can imagine the crowd.  We found our spot and waited for the race to begin. As I was standing there with my crabby child, I looked down at her shirt and couldn't help but notice that . . . it was on backwards. "You and your father carried on like that this morning and neither of you noticed that the shirt was on backwards?!" She turned it around and I helped her to re-pin the race bib.

Eventually we made it across the start line (about a half-hour after the gun).  The elite runners had already finished the 10K and were crossing the finish line. Can you imagine running 10K in 30 minutes flat? I sure can't.

About ten minutes into the walk, the kid turned to me and informed me that she didn't feel well and hadn't felt well since she woke up. Seriously?! We were in the middle of thousands of people on a one-way course. Even if I called her dad to come and pick her up, he'd never be able to get even vaguely close to where we were. She clutched her stomach and made "woe is me" faces, and asked me if I could slow down. Walking a 10K in the searing heat is hard enough, but doing it with 70.8 pounds of complaints in tow makes it extra fun (we have a new scale so that's how I know her exact weight). I encouraged her to keep going and to cool off at the next sprinkler. Because of the heat, there were sprinklers and hoses everywhere (manned by residents along the course route), along with lots of water stations.  Sure enough, once she was sopping wet, she seemed to feel a bit better. One of the water stations was also handing out cups of ice. I took an ice cube and quickly and surreptitiously shoved it into my sports bra. "MOM!" I thought she was going to melt into the pavement. She was absolutely mortified.  So yes, I embarrass her just by having boobs. And breathing. And everything else I do, I guess.  When we approached the "mile of music" and she could hear some 70's-era music playing, she got really nervous. "Mom. You can't dance. Okay? You can't dance."  I was suddenly overcome with the urge to lay down the boogie, but I suppressed it.

Anyway, it was slow going, but we finished it. We received our medals.  You know, all I can hope is that when she is an old lady, she might look back at her medals and remember that she did all that stuff with her mom, her embarrassing mom with the sweaty bosom. And someday, she'll have an opportunity to embarrass her children and something tells me . . . she will do so with gusto.

Before the Pet Walk

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