Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Being Goofy

Thursday night

After the optimal pre-race dinner at Chick-Fil-A (where the regular typical fast food workers must be on strike or something, because the Hospitality Manager was walking around the place asking us if we needed anything, offering us after-dinner mints, etc.), I go to bed strategizing mightily and visualizing success for my “A” race the next day: the Up Disney 5K Fun Run. This is what it all comes down to, people, leaving it all out there and showing what you’re made of in the face of true adversity. Courage.

Friday morning

We get to sleep in today, because unlike the other races where the last shuttle to the race start leaves at 4AM, today it’s not until 5. And it’s still relatively balmy here in Florida – in the 30s at least. Gee, I’m almost too warm in my six layers of clothing.

After we buy our $3 cups of lukewarm coffee, we wander around the Up race start, and I for one am constantly running my race strategy through my head, which is basically the following: run fast, unless there’s something to take a picture of. As I'm concentrating on the challenge ahead, Deanna and Jillian are laughing about something, looking at the decorations, and it’s just that kind of lack of seriousness that separates the serious athletes like me from, well, everyone else. But I do take a moment to stop to chat with the EMTs, huddling outside in the cold. Always helps to be on the good side of the people who might possibly have your life in their hands later.

Me to EMT: So are you ready for a lot of potential casualties at the Up 5K? Lot of running injuries? Overexertion? Hyponatremia?
EMT guy: Well, we’re hoping we’re ready. It could get ugly out there.
EMT woman: Yep, you never know. You’re racing today?
Me: Yeah, this is my A race. I was originally planning on doing the Goofy as well, but if it’s going to be 26 degrees all weekend, and they’re talking about sleet and hail tomorrow, then that’s not gonna happen. I can’t run in the cold.
EMT woman: Oh, you should run! We’re out there all 3 days, you could stop by and say hi.
Me: Well, I’ve done the Goofy before a couple of times, so I know it’s fun, but I seriously can’t run in the cold.
EMT guy: You should run, it’s fun! Except when we’re prying people off the ground who can’t walk any longer, but other than that.
EMT woman: Get gloves and a scarf and bundle up – you’ll be okay!
Me: I have my Goofy medals already and I have poor circulation in my hands and feet so they’ll pretty much freeze instantly and then I’ll just be hobbling along and I never get warm when I run, and….and……I have cancer!

Yep, finally had to pull that ol’ chestnut out to get these really nice people to understand that the whole running thing in the cold is NOT going to happen. I would wheeze and suck in air in my pre-cancer days when it was cold – now, post-radiation which seems to have trashed my lungs, I basically start hyperventilating and wind up with chest pains. So really, just not a good idea.

That of course gets me the sympathetic looks, when I explain the bit about rads, though Deanna is smirking and rolling her eyes as usual.

Me: Deanna of course thinks I should suck it up – she’s just jealous that I have The Cancer and she actually has to run this Goofy stuff. No cancer excuses for her!
EMT guy: Sucks to be her, huh?
Me: I’ll make sure she looks for you guys tomorrow – we have to get to the start corral, our A race is about to start!

We head over to the start, and once that gun goes off, we’re off and running! Well, shuffling, actually. Trying to not step on too many small children, or laugh too hard at adults who have race belts chock full o’ many flasks of their sports liquid and an oddly large number of gels. For a 5K. Hmm, maybe I’m missing something here…..

Our race is going along beautifully until we hit Epcot. And realize that we have an opportunity to time travel from one country to another in rapid succession, while taking pictures of it all to record these moments. This puts us off our pace, but when else do you get a chance to go from Morocco to Canada in mere minutes?

We then stop when we see our friends the EMTs.

Me: Hey, fancy meeting you guys here!
EMT guy: Hey, how’s it going? How’s the cancer doing?
Me: Not bad, I’m battling it as we speak, fighting the good fight and all that!

Then it’s off to Bavaria and Fiji and Japan and Mexico. Whew! What a whirlwind tour! And finally, the finish line, where Deanna throws the gauntlet in front of us in the form of an Extreme Challenge:

Deanna: Hey guys, look at the clock! If we hustle, we can finish in less than an hour!

Now, normally I would scoff at the very idea of such amazing feats of strength, but I think we were all feeling a bit of the Disney magic in us that day, and so we dug deep down inside ourselves to where insanity lies, gave it everything possible…..and finished our Fun Run 5K in just under an hour. I know what you’re thinking, and all I can say is this – don’t try this at home yourselves. Fair warning.

The rest of the weekend, I proudly wear my 5K medal, noting the admiring glances from others. Whenever possible, I work into the conversation my stellar PR for the race – which is absolutely true, since it occurs to me that this was my first ever 5K. How that happened, I’m not quite sure, but at least now I’ve left a small window of opportunity open for a faster time next time, if such a thing is even possible.

And in deciding to not do the Goofy, it’s interesting that the lone time I decide to NOT be a total dumbass about something, as is my wont, my friends all give me a hard time about it.

“What? You’re not running? Wimp!”
“Just bundle up!”
“Don’t be such a pansy!”

Finally I decide to dispense with the long explanation – that I have poor circulation in my hands and feet and can’t handle this kind of cold no matter how much I bundle up, that I’d be miserable, would never get warm, etc., and just wind up bellowing at people –

“Seven weeks of radiation, people! Lungs shot! Can’t run in the fucking cold! Can’t breathe!”

Though I do find that if I just mention the “can’t breathe’ thing firmly and matter-of-factly enough, I don’t have to pull out the big guns that often, at least not until I’m at the point of total exasperation. Though when one dear friend did ask me “But don’t you want your Goofy medals?” – I wound up replying thusly:

“Yes, I’d love my third set of Goofy medals. I’d also like to not wind up in an ambulance after hyperventilating and not being able to breathe and passing out, because that would kind of suck.”

That got the point across – and this is a friend who can say whatever she wants to me, and it’ll always be okay, because I know her heart is in the right place. Muah.

The only person who does laud my new brilliance in having a lick of sense, which is so unlike me, is Annette, who I speak to on Friday night:

Annette: How’s the racing going?
Me: Great! We had an awesome 5K today!
Nettie: Are you all doing the Goofy then?
Me: Deanna’s doing it all, Jillian’s doing the half, I’m sticking with the 5K, since it’s going to hail tomorrow and be 26 degrees, same on Sunday without the hail.
Nettie: Outstanding! Good for you – that’s definitely the way to do it!

I always knew those South Africaners were a brilliant people, and Nettie proves that quite well.

In the end, Jillian kicked ass on the half, Deanna kicked ass on the Goofy and made it all look easy, and me? I did my 5K Fun Run, and can honestly say that that was the most fun I’ve ever had doing a race, hands down. Must be that Disney magic – or the company I was keeping…...


RP said...

Pansy Girl! I think you should change your blog name PG. ;-)

Jillian said...

three words: rancid crisco biscuit!

t-odd said...

I admire your restraint. That pink cancer is nothing to mess around with. You deserve a lifetime - after all.

RP said...

OMG!! A lifetime of T...I dunno.;-)

JoJo said...

You were right - the photos are awesome! Yay to the PR on the 5K! So sorry to hear about the lurgy but I hope you're getting over it. I'm off to weigh my bags for my flight to LA - maybe I should leave out the snacks to lighten the load!