So I’m thinking — maybe I’ll put it on my list, just so I can cross it off. Is that cheating? Sometimes I feel a little deficient in working down my list.
So what is it that I did? I walked my first ever 5K yesterday. Now some of you may be thinking, “Big Deal.” You’ve probably done tons of them. But it never even ever entered my mind to do one. So why now?
Well, it happened on Facebook. Doesn’t everything happen on Facebook? I follow Victory Junction. http://www.victoryjunction.org. It’s a charity started by the Petty Family of Nascar fame in honor of Adam Petty. Adam was an up and coming Nascar driver when he was killed in a race in New Hampshire in 2000. He had become interested in starting a camp in North Carolina where children with serious and chronic medical illnesses could go and have fun. You know, forget about their conditions for awhile. He got the idea after visiting a camp in Florida that was part of the SeriousFun camp started by Paul Newman.
So in 2002, the Petty family started working on this project. And with support from other Nascar people, corporations and other sponsors, they opened for their first campers in 2004.
My granddaughter has attended this camp twice. The camp is staffed with doctors and nurses who volunteer their time, so no child needs to feel at risk. And there is no cost to the families, who in many cases are already overwhelmed with medical bills. Hence the reason I follow them on Facebook.
A couple weeks ago, I saw that it was time for their 10th annual fundraiser 5K/10K run/walk. So I shared the post with my daughter.
me: Hey, let’s do this. The 5K, but I’m going to walk.
her: Of course, we’ll walk. Did you think I would run?
We mentioned to my son (the father of the camper) about doing it with us and he agreed — we’d do it as a family.
Since I hadn’t been doing any walking because I hate the heat and humidity of summer and hibernate, I had to start walking to get in shape. This became a kind of willy-nilly bit of training, what with visits to the chiropractor and all. I managed to get up to 1.9 miles, but my legs felt like I was lifting concrete blocks. I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to complete it. But my out would potentially be my 6 year old grandson. If he decided he didn’t want to go any further, I would volunteer to go back with him. Good strategy on my part, huh?
V-day. We met up shortly after the crack of dawn to make the hours drive to the camp. We were already registered, so we only had to check in and get our shirts. Dang, we were too late for donuts! There was kind of an electricity in the air. We were all jazzed. My son used to run 5 and 10 Ks, so this was old hat to him. Here we are lined up, ready to start. We still looked good at this point.
And … off we went. My son and the two kids went running. My daughter walked faster than me. I was back with the slower folks, not wanting to use up all my energy in the first half mile! And we walked. Up hill, down hill, up hill again. What?? What’s that sign say? 1 mile? I’ve been walking forever! No way. If after all this walking, I’ve only walked a mile, I’m in trouble. Okay, don’t think about it. Just keep walking. Nearing the top of another hill, my family met up with me on their way back. “C’mon, Mom, just turn around and come back with us.” “No, I want to do the whole thing.” Did I just say that? What the heck am I thinking?
My son told me the turn around was just at the top of the hill, so he and my granddaughter walked back up with me. What a relief it was to see that red flag signally the turn. Half way! Yeah!
Now down hill, up hill, down hill, up hill. At the beach where I do most of my walking, it’s flat. Sea level and all that. These damned hills are killing me. Finally — the finish line! Yeah — I did it!
Will I do it again. You betcha. We already decided we should do more of these 5Ks. What a great family outing. And it’s a way for the young ones to realize the giving back idea. You leave feeling a sense of accomplishment.
What did I learn? Don’t believe the people on the sidelines yelling encouragement. “It’s all downhill from here.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. Spending an hour among people who are encouraging, smiling, friendly, and helpful —priceless.