Sunday, October 01, 2006

Thank You From the Bottom of My Running Shoes

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Truth be told, I'm sort of terrified of running. To be more specific: I'm terrified of not being able to finish, of making a fool out of myself, of having a sweaty photo of myself appear in the newspaper, of my blisters choosing that moment to burst, causing the streets to run red with blood, of being the last to cross the finish line. I was so encouraged by the strong wave of support I received here, and by the worthiness of the cause that I sort of forgot that I don't run. Can't run. Don't know how.

When I was a kid, I raised money every year for Multiple Sclerosis via a read-a-thon, which is a little more to my pace. Unfortunately, I could only get sponsors to promise me a lump sum rather than dollars per book, which would have been great for the charity and flaming on the pocketbook.

In high school I did the Terry Fox Run every year, but here's the catch: I didn't run. I walked. I made a point of walking and thought the runners were fools. They were fools, actually. It was a 6 kilometre route, and if you paced your walking right, you could get out of the whole morning's worth of classes. Runners were back in time for math. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

But now, not only have I committed myself to running, I seem also to have committed myself to slowing Jason down as well. The fact is: Jamie measures 5 feet, 3 inches. Jason stands at 6 feet, 1 inch. The difference: 10 big inches. The result: any time spent together means Jason strides and Jamie jogs, forever trying to catch up. Sometimes we run side by side at the gym, on matching treadmills. Running for Jason means setting the speed at 7 miles per hour, and letting his long legs loose. Running for me means 4 mph, and hoping that my short little legs can keep up. And 7 mph is actually slow for Jason, because he's a sprinter. He ran track & field in high school. Know what I did in high school? Um, debate club (oh yeah, I've been rocking the argumentative bitch thing for a while now). But somehow Jason is still determined that he will run beside me during the race, although I suspect it has less to do with any couple allegiance and more to do with his concern that I might otherwise die alone on dirty Toronto asphalt.

Now, mere hours away from running, I am unable to sleep. I just keep retaping my blisters and checking the weather network, hoping the rain will somehow turn into bright rays of comforting sunshine. But no matter what my personal result is tomorrow, I know I will have raised lots of money for a cause that needs it. You guys have outdone yourselves - and every dollar raised has been doubled in our matching program. We also sold mini cheesecakes (dubbed "cancer tarts") at Jason's work to increase the tally. I don't know if I will ever live in a world without cancer, but I firmly believe that I can live in a world where no one dies from it, so to those of you who donated: thank you.

Sponsors' Honour Roll:

Queen of Spain
Bud Buckley
Better Safe than Sorry

It's not too late to donate!

Otherwise, stay tuned for the unfolding story: will she fall flat on her face? put her sports bra to shame? use to run as an excuse to carb-load at the international pancake house?.....


We came, we ran, our hamstrings burned like a motherfucker.

But in the end, we did run.

It was awesome! I mean, if you forget the part where I'm a stupid insomniac and I insisted we leave the house at 2:30 am, bundled under enough layers not to feel the chilly wind and then arrived at the run site 8 hours later in the boiling hot sun and then spent the first kilometre of the run trying to strip surreptitiously while remaining in motion.

That part sucked. But the rest was awesome! We conveniently ran past the Mount Sinai hospital, and don't think I didn't consider running right up the steps to my eventual collapse, but somehow, I persisted. And I managed to run right past the U of T cheerleaders even though many of the bepenised runners were stopped in their tracks. The whole course was dotted with very enthusiastic supporters, screaming what I assumed to be encouragement, although it seems that when I am gasping like a fish out of water, some of my senses start shutting down, and the ability to hear is among the first to go. But their posters were brightly coloured, so I did catch a blurry glimpse of them as I shot by at lightning speeds (you know, like 4 miles an hour, approximately). But the best part was the water station – a real, live water station, just like in the Olympics! Volunteers stuck their arms out bravely, proferring little paper cups filled with the liquid of life.

Now, to be honest, I'm a thirsty girl, so Jason was running with a bag that contained no less than 3 litres of water, which I'd already been downing at that point. So strictly speaking, I didn't need the water. And briefly, I felt that the water might only be for the serious runners, and not for the slow-moving frauds such as myself. But then I entered that runner's high that people are always talking about, and I had hallucinations of myself splashing water upon myself like real live professional athletes on TV. In the end, I decided that I probably was not coordinated enough to snatch the paper cup without stopping, so I didn't water myself, but I felt cool just running right past it.

And the very, very best part was all the money we raised for a great cause. Jason and I raised over a thousand dollars, thanks in large part to some very generous sponsors right here. Every dollar we raised was doubled by Jason's work – so yay us, and thank you all for believing in the cause, and for giving me the will to keep going even when I thought I'd rather whip off my top to reveal my sports bra (in which my nipples always appear to be pointing in opposite directions, like a pair of headlights that badly need to be realigned) rather than keep going.

I kept going.

You guys rock.

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