The last time I ran a 5K was in 1999. I’m guessing October, because it was a Komen Race for the Cure.
My mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in the year—for the second time—and the prognosis was not great. All of her friends formed a huge team and got shirts made that said they were racing for her. She got her pink survivor’s garb to wear. I was planning to walk along with the whole team.
When I arrived at the race that morning, I was a little anxious. We had about 60 people on our team, and while I knew some, many were my mom’s office friends. I was hanging back on the edge of the group, my nerves pretty raw, when one of our oldest family friends showed up and gave me a huge hug. I lost it, crying, and had to walk away to try to get a grip. It was just overwhelming.
We got to the starting line eventually, as I think at least 30,000 people participated that year. I think it was one of the last years that men really weren’t running or walking, but I kind of think my dad was there.
As we crossed the start line, I started to run. I hadn’t been running, or training to run. I had been training for a long bike ride, but not as seriously as I should have been. Funny that I can’t remember the sequence, whether it was 5K, then 3-day bike, or the other way around, but I think the 5K was first.
I ran to run away from the group. I was crying, angry crying, and didn’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of women I didn’t know who were waving a bunch of pink around acting like this was some kind of pep rally. I was running away from my mom’s health and my health and my fears and my fat and my disappointment.
I ran really hard and fast. The absolutely flat course was on cement, with no give and lots of gravel in the gutters. Not only did it not go through a particularly scenic part of town, it actually showcased the strip mall and strip club side of town. The route matched my feelings.
For this run on Saturday, I’m in such a different place. I’m there for me.
I’ll be wearing pink shoes, but not because they are are For The Pink©, but just because the shoes that happened to fit best were only available in that color, and I’m beyond worrying about having the right color shoes, or coordinating my shopping or my outfits for the cause.
The course, though scenic, has hills, but I don’t care, because life has hills. If you never run down, you never get to come back up.
I’m running towards so much more than I’m running from, and running much farther than the 5K distance along the course.
Realizing that makes me feel really wonderful, proud, and happy. I’ll let you know how it goes.
[And, by the way, my mom is now a 2-time survivor. We haven’t done the Komen race since then, and we won’t ever do it again.]
UPDATE: OK, my fever got up to 104 last night, then hovered around 103 for several hours until I finally managed to break it with ice packs. Needless to say, I’m not actually out running the 5K right now, because merely getting up into a sitting position is challenging enough. Looks like today will be another full day in bed, hydrating and resting.
I’m disappointed to miss the race, but the fact is, I know I can do it, so I’m not as upset as I could be. I wrote this earlier in the week, and didn’t want to let it go to waste. I also bought a new shirt for the race … guess this just means I’ll have to find another 5K to do soon. It is 60° F and sunny right now. I suspect I’ll have to wait until fall to get weather like this again.
My oh my – I hope NONE of you get this flu. It truly has been miserable. I sound like I’m smoking two packs a day, and I look like hell on a biscuit. The dogs are being true champs, staying right by my side to keep me warm when I get the chills. Better get back to bed.