Last night I was talking to Middle Sister on the phone. She was at work and so occasionally had to put the phone down to ring up customers (she has yet to take my, "just lock the door while you're on the phone" advice) and also I was somewhat bored listening to her. I tend to be a pacer when I am on the phone, totally took after Mom on that one. So I was pacing my living room when the newspaper the county puts out that I normally just toss caught my bored eye. The front page feature read, "Captain Midnight's Run for Cystic Fibrosis*". So while Middle Sibling babbled I read the article to see what it was all about. A father with a son that has CF started it last year and it is a 5K run to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation which funds research to develop better drugs to help people with CF live longer and healthier lives as well as working to find a cure for the disease. The run was today (Friday) and started at 7pm and the article said that walkers were welcome.
This was one of the charity runs that you pay to participate in and there didn't seem to be any kind of form to try and get people to sponsor you, which was perfect for me, I suck at fundraising stuff like that! Middle Sibling used to be a distance runner (while I was a sprinter) so I asked her how many miles 5K is, she didn't know and wanted to know why so I told her. She totally did not get the concept of paying to walk 5K and did not seem to think I should spend my time and money on a walk for CF, since she thinks she might have MS she thinks I should do a MS charity thing instead (as if I cannot possibly do both...). She didn't know the answer to my question but google did, it is about 3 miles. So 3 miles, in town, I could walk, it was only $16, and it started at 7pm and not 7am, sign me up! And so I did, I got there a bit late since Aunt D called and I didn't ignore the call (I was tempted since I totally knew I would be late if I took it), but only about 5 minutes or so and not so late that they didn't let me join. I am still trying to figure out how people were finishing very soon after I started, their times must have been amazing!
I did feel like a poser/slug as I was walking the route, talking on my cell phone as people were running by me about to finish. But oh well, I was NEVER a distance runner and with my knee** the way it is running wasn't really an option, especially since I had done a sprint to catch the bus this morning and after three weeks off I went to water aerobics 4 days in a row and so my body is a tad beat up to begin with. My mom called while I was starting and since she had surgery on her foot that afternoon (and I was hoping she was hopped up on pain killers and would provide amusing dialog, alas not) I actually told Aunt D I was going to do the switch thing and talk to her later (I RARELY switch over, I find it somewhat rude). Mom asked what I was doing as I was making comments about wondering if I was going the right way or not (I didn't look at nor have a map and the route had a section that overlapped), a friendly volunteer told me I was going the right way. I told Mom I was doing a 5K, she asked why and I told her it was for CF, she asked if it was one of those things where I asked people to sponsor me (we did one when I was a kid) and I told her no and that I gave them $20 and walk 5K. She had a hard time understanding the concept too. "You could walk 5K for free..." I told her it was for charity and to raise awareness, she seemed to kinda get it. It helped that I told her I got a tee shirt and some coupons from it too, LOL!
About half way or so through Mom took another call and I was left to walk by myself with only the occasional volunteer or onlooker for company. The sun was setting and there were some rather scenic patches along the route, it was very nice and peaceful. They were giving the speeches and handing out awards as I was reaching the end, the meeting place was across the street from the finish line so I plodded along to the end, a volunteer walked with me as another took my time (57 minutes, though my late start was not factored in so it was more like 50 minutes). I came in dead last, but as it was not a race (well it was to some of the participants, not the broken one(s) though). I guess the woman before me insisted she was last, took some pride in it, who knows perhaps time-wise she was in last, it was all in fun I'm sure. No matter what I felt good for going, while I do not know anyone personally with CF I have read blogs written by or about people who do have it and when I was a kid my mom went through a phase of reading books by an author who mainly wrote about characters who were sick and dying and there were a couple that involved CF and they left an impression (I mainly read whatever my mom has/is into at the time).
For me the charity does not have to be about something that directly involves me, I am not that significant but I can be part of something that can help someone else and that is what it is about. It really helps me put things into perspective at a time when I need that, not only given the issues I am having with my job and my health but with the major case of cynicism I have developed as a result of the insanity that is an election year (I am getting to the point where I beyond loathe politics). Things like this help show that there is good in the world and not everything has to involve idiots lying to people to try and con them into voting for them so we can give them our money and have them waste it on stupid crap and support issues that I find vile or screw me over.
For an hour that crap all faded away and it was about coming together to support research to make around 30,000 people in this country's life better. It was about a 4 year old boy who lives in this town and has to take a ton of medication so he can digest his food (really puts my 10 pills a day into perspective), who has a feeding tube because he just can't ingest enough food in a day to grow, and who has to wear a vest twice a day that shakes his chest to clear his lungs of mucus so he can breath and not get as many lung infections. I hope we can beat this thing in little Quinn's lifetime, it wasn't too long ago that he would not have made it this far but with the efforts of researchers and people supporting them he has a decent chance to make it into adulthood. I want him to end up a wrinkly old man recalling how we beat the disease that would have killed him to kids who find it hard to believe that Cystic Fibrosis ever killed anyone (much like many diseases that are easily treated now were killers in the not too distant past).
So overall a great experience I plan to repeat next year and I plan to keep my eye out for similar events in my area. I really wanted to go on the March of Dimes Walk for Babies but the locations were a bit far especially since it started really early in the morning (9am is early!), and they do the whole finding sponsors thing that I mentioned sucking at. It would have been really cool to have gone and possibly met one of my favorite bloggers Loren and her munchkins. And given the fact that my godson was born prematurely (28 weeks 2 days) that one hits close to home. Maybe next year I can find a way to go *cough suck it up cough*.
Pictures (I wish there was a caption option on blogger, if there is someone please tell me)
1: My trying to take my own picture while walking and trying to not be obvious about it because I totally felt like a dork taking my own pic while walking a 5K run.
2: A straight part towards the end, those orange cones were my guide for the beginning and end, things got a little confusing in the middle but thankfully there were volunteers that helped (I am rather navigationally challenged).
3: My new shirt, I wanted to change into it while participating but since I was late starting and there wasn't a good spot to change shirts on route plus I was wearing a black bra and I didn't really want to do the white shirt with a black bra thing cuz I know it would have totally shown through!
4: The hill that tried to kick my butt and somewhat succeeded, hill was steeper than that pic makes it look!
5: Sunset at the end of the event.
*Cystic Fibrosis is a recessive genetic disorder, which means that the mother and the father have to carry the defective gene for their child to inherit it. Normally there is a protein that balances the amount of sodium and chlorine in mucus, in people with CF the gene that codes for that protein is mutated and does not produce a protein that functions properly resulting in them having thick sticky mucus that builds up in their lungs and also clogs the pancreas so the digestive enzymes it produces don't make it into the GI tract. For more information on the disease and ways to get involved in helping visit the CF Foundation. And for a very interesting and compelling perspective on living with and loving someone with CF go read Nate's blog.
**I was a sprinter for two years on my high school track team and developed tendinitis in my right knee. It is not usually a big deal but flares up for various reasons and running is not good for it so I try to avoid it.
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