Monday, May 7, 2012

Heels and Hills...Her perspective

Heels and Hills 5K

*NOTE: My mom told me back around November that she wanted to do a short race.  She had worked really hard and lost 20 pounds and was feeling good.  She has always had knee and back issues, but she was feeling so good that she wanted to try and walk a race.  When I asked how short, she said a mile...I told her she could already walk a mile...Let's do a 5k (3.1 miles) - she agreed...and so the story goes...

All in all, Cinco de Mayo had been a good day for me, but when I went to bed last night, I was full of apprehension about whether or not I could do the Heels and Hills 5K that my daughter Alicia had talked me into doing with her.  Mentally I was up for the challenge, but I wasn’t sure my oversized, arthritic body would be!  She had painstakingly created a training regime that began in January so that I would be fully prepared, but alas, I was pathetic about following it.  In fact, it is stuck somewhere on the back of my refrigerator where I put it about 5 months ago.  Not good.

When my phone alarm blared “We Are Family” at 5:15 AM, I almost turned it off and rolled back over, but something inside yanked me fully awake, and before I could think of a good excuse, I was up and headed to the door. I had everything packed, so all I had to do was grab another bottle of water and freshen my makeup in case I wound up in the emergency room.  Both my knees were bound tightly with knee braces and ace bandages.  I left my back brace lying on the floor because it just does not go with “being cute” at all.

As I drove into the Metroplex, the sun was just coming up over the city.  What an awesome sight!  I have always heard that getting up this early is a surreal experience, and I agree!  Don’t know if I will see it again in my lifetime, but at least I can mark it off my bucket list.  

Pre- race -- feeling good!

Alicia, Elaine, Mimi
By 7 AM I was standing in a swarm of humanity that stretched for miles.  I couldn’t believe this many people would be up this early so cheerful, ready to run on hard concrete!  Amazing.  Alicia and all her running buddies came up to encourage me, but all they did was discourage me because they were so cute and thin, with their designer outfits and Ipods and personal GPS and timing systems.  Even the guys looked good!  I was the only one there without some form of spandex. My comfortable Wal-Mart blue jeans and my “World’s Greatest Mimi” t-shirt looked way out of place! I rolled my pants up a little to try to fit in with all these cute young things, and then I twirled my cute little pink earrings so that everyone would notice how well they matched my lipstick and t-shirt!

I needed to use the restroom to freshen up again, but when I saw the sea of humanity snaked around the porta-potty, I was thankful I hadn’t taken my diuretic for the day!  I did have an emergency towel with me though in case I needed it.  It was matching pink and green.  At least I will look cute when they haul me off to the emergency room!

Before long we were at the starting line.  Steady pace…about 24 miles per hour for the first few minutes.  Not bad for an old lady!   I asked Alicia how far we had gone, and she replied that it was about 1/3 of a mile.  I knew she was lying because she knows her time and distance down to the millisecond when she runs those 30-mile runs.  I told her to be honest with me so that I could gauge my progress. I wish she hadn’t though.  
Starting line...

The first mile was the hardest.  My knees hurt like crazy.  Luckily, I had my hiking stick to lean on.  Good thing. I kept hearing the sound of a motor behind us, so I turned to see an Irving Police cruiser right behind me.  I figured Donnie (my husband who is a retired Irving policeman) had called some of the guys at the department and told them to watch out for me.   Kinda embarrassing but also a good thing.   Alicia said no, that the cruiser always follows the last person in the race to protect them from getting hit.  Great.  Now every time I wanted to take a break and bend over to stretch my back, he would not only have to stop, but also turn his head.  He was a true gentleman! 

Mile 1!
At the halfway point, I knew I could do it!  By mile 2, my knees were numb, but my hips were screaming from pain now.  I had to concentrate on walking “heels first” because my chronic knee problems have forced me to walk on the balls of my feet.  Not good.  By 2.5 miles by hips were numb, but now I had a blister on my right foot, and my right quad was tensing up.  Alicia had some lemony energy caplets, so I ate two of them.  I think they actually helped, too, and I kept drinking lots of water along the way to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated.  

All along the way, the police officer paced me, stopping when I had to rest or get some water.  I just pretended to be someone really important, and he was my special bodyguard.  People were so nice to me throughout the ordeal, encouraging me to keep going on.  

Special bodyguard...
Chatting it up with the police...
Too tired to spend more energy crossing the street...Let's just finish this thing...
By mile 3 I was panting heavily, but I was in the homestretch.  Alicia saw the finish line first, but when I saw the banner, I was ecstatic.  Ahead of us was the winner of the half-marathon (13 miles) accompanied by HER own bodyguards, with everyone cheering.  We were just behind her, so I simply pretended I was coming in 4th in the half-marathon, hoping no one would look closely at my bib.  

As we approached the finish line, the announcer blared, “And here come the last of the 5K runners,” along with some other sweet, encouraging words. I was so darn tired, I got all emotional and choked up.  People were cheering and yelling my name, so I lifted my walking cane heroically, Rocky-fashion, and strutted through the finish line.  It was an experience I will never forget as long as I live.  Runners are the best people in the world.  They really do treat others like important people and encourage each other along the way when it seems impossible to keep going.  It is a sisterhood indeed.  So glad I got to share it with my precious daughter.  What an inspiration she has been to me!  And I am not saying that just because I beat her out in the home stretch.  

By the way, I finished 4th in my age division.  Unfortunately there were only 4 of us competing!  BUT my hair held up nicely, my lipstick was still pink, and I looked pretty cute, if I have to say so myself!  The only thing that would be cuter is to wear some matching spandex next time!
After the finish line! 
Wearing the shirt with pride!

Red Badge of Courage!

The text Alicia got Sunday night after the race...

Thanks mom for doing this race with me...It was by far my favorite race because I got to share it with you...You made me so proud in so many ways...even if you hadn't finished, just the courage to start was AWESOME!

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