It’s certain there are about 3,500 women, mostly in this state, who are having trouble walking down stairs today. And tomorrow may be only slightly better.
If you’re not a runner you have no idea the quadricep carnage that occurred Sunday morning over in Grand Rapids the result of the Gazelle Girls half marathon and 5K, a women’s only road race. Thinking about it now, if you are a guy, this was the place to be. More than 3000 fit women dressed in running gear swarmed the city.
But that’s probably another blog.
I turned 60 on Saturday, an age I’m not too happy about. But what better way to boost my confidence, convince myself that age is just a number, that I’m not old, that it’s going to all be OK, then to run a 5K for the first time in umpteen years.
Many of my friends ran the half marathon (13.2 miles), but I was thrilled to be running a 5K (3.1 miles). I’ve been walking so when this race came up, a time to reconnect with many of my cyber running friends, I thought I’d throw a little jogging into the training mix and be good to go.
And that’s exactly what I did. I went on more walks than I might have if I wasn’t ‘training’ and I threw in some quarter miles of jogging sometimes. Maybe once a week. Or so. Surely that would be enough.
I didn’t carry a camera with me on my 5K race, but so many times along the route I wished I had it with me. So you’ll have to use your imagination when I tell you I followed a woman with a pink shirt that read “too inspired to be tired” most of the race. And that the shadows of a mom and her two seven year old twins followed mine. And then they caught up with me. I ran either just in front or just behind them most of the race. They were adorable. And yes… they finished before I did. Seven year olds.
You’ll have to use your imagination when I tell you many women were wearing tiaras or tutus. Or both. A majority of them were dressed in the wildly beautiful bright colors that seem to be in style these days. The shoes pounding the pavement in front of me were beautiful. I so wanted to shoot them. With a camera. Seriously. A camera.
Pick up your feet, pick up your feet was my mantra as I kept watch of the crumbling city pavement. I’m too old, now, to fall. I could break a hip, land in a nursing home. It felt quite a bit like that’s where I should be anyway. Especially that last long uphill at the end, that final left turn toward the finish line. Pick up your feet, pick up your feet. Breath.
I went back to the hotel when I finished my race to get my camera because I couldn’t be that long without one. The photos here were taken while I was waiting for my half marathoner friends to come across the finish. There were lots of great people to watch. So many strong women. Such great family and friend support. Beautiful children excited to see their mom or sister or grandmother race by.
It was a wonderful way to celebrate my 60th birthday with friends who truly believe you are never old. As evidenced by our “Energizer Betty” who Sunday ran a half marathon at age 72. Who ran a marathon on her 70th birthday.
Who I want to be when I grow up.
And there is one thing I know is true; 3.1 miles is a very long way to run. Thank goodness I didn’t have to do ten more!