We gathered Saturday morning, all of us immortals, from around the local area, drawn by an irresistible force, to find each other and meet together with a common frightful purpose.
(I’m playing with a Highlander theme. Is that too obscure a cultural reference? I was talking about something at work recently and a coworker responded, “Oh, I forget that you’re a nerd,” and I’m still pretty conflicted about whether or not that was a compliment. So I must be one.)
Anyway, it was decidedly frightful. I awoke that morning knowing I could not avoid my date with destiny. And I was sore afraid.
Or perhaps severely anxious is a better two-word descriptor – more Woody Allen than Connor MacLeod.
Twas the first day of our Fred relay training and I was going to have to run with the group. All together, right in front of each other. I have done almost no running since cancer. And, of course, you’re out of shape. You worry that you’ll huff and puff, get red faced, have to stop and all of that. But with me, recovering from rectal cancer, my biggest fear is that any running at all is going to make me have to poop – in a cold park where there are no open public bathrooms, and other people that I was just meeting would be aware of the predicament. Not sure Connor MacLeod ever worried about that when he was going off to battle, but, c’mon, he had a kilt. (Hm, a kilt could really solve some problems…)
So I did my usual agonizing about what to eat, at what point to take the Imodium, etc. All of these little decisions seem crucial. I feel like I could ruin this thing not just for myself but for the whole group.
And then I remembered a small present that I bought for myself at Schulers the afternoon before. I had stopped after work for a latte (yeah, I know, we’ll talk about nutrition soon) and I hadn’t taken the item out of my work bag. So I found it and showed John. And it made me laugh. And then a slight breeze of a mood floated through me and it was like someone that I could believe had just said, “Oh, ya wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie (that’s Robert Burns – I always loved that line – but I’m gonna mash it in with Highlander, kay?), this is just an hour or two of your day, just the beginning of the journey when nothing is expected. It is going to be alright.”
And was it?
Well, we started out in a warm conference room where we all signed a waiver and got a tee shirt and listened to John Morrison and our trainer, Kym Matthews, tell us about what to expect. That went great.
In fact, that part was pretty dang exciting. I mean, this is a really cool opportunity. Everyone who has signed on gets the services of our professional trainer, Kym, who will guide us all the way through this and run as a member of our team. I’ve never had any running training, I’ve always just left the house and plunged around on my own. I am very curious to know what kind of difference it will make. And we’re going to get to do all kinds of cool extra things like a nutrition session, a foot and a shoe clinic, yoga classes and the chance to run with the Grand Rapids Running Tours group who combine short runs with history tours. This is all free, people. We are expected to raise money for the West Michigan Trails & Greenways Coalition but we’re getting help with that too. Wanna join us – you still can at this point.
After the talking about running part, which is never a problem for me, we all stood, zipped up our outer layer and headed up the road to Riverside Park. It was cold and there was a sharp wind but the sun was beautiful. Kym started us with the walk/run (see I never started with the walk/run, why didn’t I ever do that?) and it felt great!!! Every time she called walk, I was happy to walk, but every time she called run, I was happy to do that. And my bowels allowed it all without a hint of protest!
I did it! Two miles of walk/run, anyway. Of course, this has not convinced me that I won’t have any problem with three much longer running stints in quick succession over the course of thirty-six odd hours with limited access to bathrooms. But that, dear reader, is why I blog. We’re all gonna see how this epic turns out! The quickening approacheth!