So, today was the big day: the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Since it was held about 30 or so minutes from where we live, the Professor and I got up early to eat breakfast, have some tea, put on a bunch of layers and head out.
After we got there and grabbed our stuff, we tied on some jingle bells to our shoelaces (well, OK: He tied the bells on for both of us.) There were so many people there, all ready to walk or run in support of the Arthritis Foundation—and people like me.
Dogs weren’t allowed, and we were definitely a bit bummed about that; Otis and his adorable sweater would have had a blast. We did see a couple of dogs, so we may just have to sneak him in next year! (Probably not; I think I’m still too Canadian to break the rules that way. It would be rude.)
It was really amazing to see hundreds, thousands of people at the start/finish line. People were wearing all kinds of crazy outfits: reindeer antlers, candy-cane tights and even one guy dressed like Santa. (He was crazy; he ran in that red suit and black boots!)
But there were tons and tons of people. They shut down a major street in the state capital, and Arthritis Foundation volunteers and police officers stood at the side streets, offering encouragement to those of us passing by.
The course was about a mile and a half in one direction before we did a u-turn and went back the way we came. I’d say maybe a quarter of the way in, I started feeling it. About half-way, my knees had had enough. Still, I managed to finish the whole 5 km, which was my goal. As a bonus, we didn’t come in last place! But heading in, I was OK with finishing last, as long as I finished.
It was lovely, spending part of my Saturday morning walking with the Professor for a cause that means so much to me. It was so important to me that I do this and that he match me step for step. There’s no one I would have rather done this with and very few in my life who would know how much the simple act of going for a walk would mean.
There have been days—and I’m sure there will be again—when simply getting out of bed was an epic struggle, days when buttoning a shirt reduced me to tears—days when it feels like my body has betrayed me. It was so important for me to push through all of that and walk 5 km, 3.1 miles, by just putting one foot in front of the other, over and over, until I was done. It was important to feel, if only for a few steps, how much my body still does for me, how much I can do.
It was a great day.