Not on my Bucket List, but I did it anyway.

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?

victory junction logoWell, 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.

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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!

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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.

My Own Public Service Announcement

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I’ve decided to pass this along because I had no idea and I figure some of you may not have any idea either.  Sometimes information falls in our laps when we are least expecting it. At least, that’s how it was for me.  Here’s how it ll came about ………

As you recall from my last post, I was anticipating driving four hours up to Raleigh to bring my grandchildren (and one friend) back to the beach.  Long day!   When Jim and I … he’s such a good guy to go along with all this … got to Raleigh, we were informed by my almost 13 year old granddaughter, that her friend, Claire, probably wasn’t going to be coming.  It seems she didn’t really “know” me and wasn’t sure about coming down with us.  Or maybe it was her mom, there was some confusion about that.

Here’s how the conversation went …

Lila: Claire isn’t going to come.  She says she doesn’t know you.  But, she does.  She met you before.

Me:  Sure, she did.  At Shane’s birthday pool party.

Lila:  Right.  So she knows you.  And you’re the good kind of Grandma.  You don’t wear lots of makeup and jewelry and dress inappropriately for your age.

MeLaughing inside, but keeping a straight face.  So, is she really not coming?  What a shame!  How upset you must be.

Lila:  Well, maybe it’s her mother.

Me:  Maybe I should go meet her mom so she can see I’m the good kind of grandma.

Well, within a short period of time, it all got worked out and we received word that Claire was, in fact, going to come.

Now for all you grandmas out there who think building good karma is the way to be the good kind of grandma, something changes between six and thirteen.  My six year old grandson is all about me playing with him and letting him eat all the junk food he wants.  Not to mention spending all his time on his electronics.  Oh, and throwing Grandma’s back out jumping the waves, requiring a visit to the chiropractor.

I knew the part about not speaking to the girls unless spoken to, although that does not include asking what they want for breakfast.  But, it does pertain to everything else.  Jim forgot that lesson and was greeted with blank, horrified stares.  And we knew not to expect them to sit at the same table with us at Chick-fil-A.  But, the makeup/jewelry/inappropriate dressing thing?  Who knew?  Well, we all do now.  Thank you very much!