Welcome back to SOLO AT SIXTY!
Not only is Labor Day weekend the last opportunity to wear white shoes and white pants and the kickoff for College Football (my Heels hit a bump in the road Saturday), it always includes the Charlottesville Women’s 4 Miler. A race with 3000+ women runners (including me) in a sea of pink (or acac lime green team shirts – we want to stand out!).
Anyone who knows me knows that I love to run. I am addicted to it (like I am to seashells). I have broken both wrists running – one as a result of a heat stroke in a 10-miler race, and one running (and falling) on ice. Crazy. My mother once said to me “I think there’s a message there…” I did not get that message. But running (sensibly) is such good exercise, and it’s my best “thinking” time. It is also prayer time for family and friends. But as much as I love running, I hate races. Yes, I run races, but I hate them. It is kinda like childbirth – if not for having amnesia after delivering your first child, there would only be single children families in this world. Same for races – after you cross that finish line you are on a high and develop amnesia and start thinking about the next race. Perfect example: my kids, son-in-law and I ran a 4-miler in Chapel Hill last April. As soon as that race was over, amnesia took effect and we signed up for it again next year! Why do I hate races? I put too much stress on myself. Yes, this one is only 4 miles and I have run 10-milers and half-marathons, but still… I start out too fast, zigzagging in and out of runners to find an open space. Too claustrophobic being in the midst of all those runners. I just want to cross that finish line!
“Running reminds you that even in your weakest moments… you are strong.”
This past Saturday was the 35th Women’s 4 Miler in Charlottesville. I cannot remember how many W4M races I have run. My middle child runs it with me. We are a mother/daughter team – “RUN LIKE MAD”. We even won the mother/daughter pennant one year! This race is organized to the hilt. The moment you drive into the race site your car never stops, or one of the male volunteers (yes TONS of men volunteer) will kindly YELL at you to keep moving – no time to chitchat here. You also line up in a very organized, yet noisy manner (remember: 3000 women all chatting) with walkers at the back and runners separated by pace. Just 4 miles and done! Thank heavens! Then it is time for all the snacks and prizes. Last weekend, thanks to Hurricane Harvey, it rained on us. And it was cold. Remember, I like to run in the heat. But we persevered. Capris and short sleeves – wished I had long sleeves and GLOVES! Could not wait to take a hot shower afterwards!
“In the end, it’s your run and yours alone. Others can run it with you but no one can run it for you. Embrace it. Be strong. Keep moving forward.”
For the last 6 years, I have run this race in memory of my sweet childhood friend, Luanne Mahannah Hinshaw, who died October 22, 2011, after a courageous battle with cancer. And when I hit that painful point in the race, I think of all she went through to extend her life, how hard she fought, and I push on to the finish. The Women’s 4 Miler is mainly a fundraiser for breast cancer, and even though Luanne did not have breast cancer, cancer is cancer. She did so much for me from elementary school all the way through high school, and this is one thing I can do for her. We met when I was in 2nd grade, Luanne in 3rd. Our parents were friends. They went square dancing together. They would “allemande left and promenade home” while we all played together outside the dance hall. Our families vacationed together at Surfside Beach (I have now come full-circle at this beach) and after they stopped, I took her on my family beach trips and she took me on hers. And y’all, we were BOY CRAZY! We had so much fun every summer at the baseball fields, the beach, the Jonestown Pool, and just hanging out (wherever the boys were!). Even though she was only 2 months older than me, she was a year ahead in school. She was a cheerleader first and taught me every West Forsyth Cheer. If not for her, I would never have been a cheerleader. The last time I saw Luanne, I was taking Mom home from celebrating her birthday at the beach. Mom and Luanne shared the same birthday, so we stopped by Luanne’s to say happy birthday. There she was, mowing her yard on a riding mower with a fleece cap on her head looking beautiful as always. She died a month later. Luanne would have celebrated her 60th birthday this September 16th.
Speaking of cancer, I had my 2nd colonoscopy last week, and it was no more fun than the first one I had 10 years ago. But this is something you gotta do, and now I’m off the hook for another 10 years. I breathed a sigh of relief when the doc said all was good. Was I worried? Yes. Now that I am SOLO, I am solely responsible for my health and taking care of myself. The worst part? Drinking that nasty gallon of cold PREP! I was freezing while I drank it! I got in bed, cut my mattress warmer on high, had an electric blanket wrapped around me and still shivered. And gagged with every swallow. I could share the photos, but I will leave that up to your imagination (and my editor vetoed these photos). This is important y’all. Once you turn 50 you need to do this. And again when you turn 60. (NO I am NOT 60 yet!)
“Running away from your problems is a race you will never win.”
One more thing. I had CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) training last week. It is required for all acac team members, even the bean counters. For years, we have been taught by the famous JOE! Someone once said if you have a heart attack, acac is the place to be – everyone is CPR trained! Once a year we get “up close and intimate” with a dummy – giving mouth to mouth (2 breaths) and compressing his chest (30 reps). I always leave class feeling as if I could save a life! I am ready to do more than just call 911. And then the following week I second guess myself. My hope is that if I ever find myself in a situation where someone is choking or CPR is required, I will know what to do and can help. Just hope they are not much bigger or taller than me! Our team has literally saved lives in our clubs. Not me, but other brave team members.
So get out there y’all! Run YOUR race. Find what makes you happy. Have all of those preventive/diagnostic tests. It may save your life. And not a bad idea to get CPR certified – you might find yourself saving a life one day.
And lastly, here’s hoping Hurricane Irma takes a big turn out to sea. Prayers for all of those in her path.
Have a great week! Next week’s post will come to you live from NYC!