Saturday, December 18, 2010

What to do on a rainy Saturday? How about a 5k?

I completed my second 5k this morning. It was the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. This was the first 5k that I really put my heart and soul into fundraising for - I was able to raise $740 for the cause. As I've written about before, my husband has Rheumatoid Arthritis, so this one was extremely important to me.

Last night, I was struggling with the thought of doing this today. I was exhausted coming off final exams week. I injured my hip a few weeks ago on the treadmill and it still isn't healed. The weather report called for rain. With all of these reasons, I was tempted to excuse myself from doing the walk. BUT! I wasn't doing this just for me. I wasn't walking with my own gain of physical fitness in mind - I was doing this for my husband and several of my close friends that also have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Many of my friends, family and co-workers had faith enough in me to donate to the cause. I could not let any of those people down! I decided I would walk as far as I could and be proud even if I couldn't complete the entire 5k.

I arrived around 7:30 after making a quick stop for a Santa hat at a local CVS. I'm rarely fully prepared for most things and often wait until last minute to wrap up - this was no exception. This is one of those traits I really must work on.

The morning was overcast and fog was still lifting. With my trusty Starbuck's Venti Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte in hand, I made my way to the registration table to get my number - 360. After weaving through a crowd of people and dogs donning Santa hats, reindeer antlers, funky socks and even tutus, I made a quick trip back to my car to lock my goody bag in the trunk. I was ready - my head feeling nearly as foggy as the morning sky.

As the walk started I made some goals. My first goal was just to make it the first mile and then I'd make the decision on if I was going further or not. I walked, waiting for a spot to clear where I could be alone. I really prefer to walk outside of the main crowd, I enjoy the time for reflection, without distraction. I slowed my pace and allowed people to pass me so I could find my spot. Eventually, I got just what I was looking for and was approaching the first mile marker. I made the decision then that I could not let myself, my husband or any of those generous people down. "I WILL complete this 5k."

Shortly thereafter the rain started. First it was just sprinkles, then a steady rain. Temptation hit again but this time it wasn't just the distance that kept me going (I was about 1 1/2 miles into the walk and turning back would only mean I didn't get to walk through the finish line), but my thoughts turned to my husband. Even in the rain, I CAN walk this 5k. He can't. No matter how much rain poured down, how cold I became, how uncomfortable my sloshy shoes were or how much my hip ached - it still didn't come close to the pain and discomfort simply walking causes him. Tears welled up in my eyes and I held back actual sobs.

I went into the walk saying I wasn't walking this today - my husband was - he was just borrowing my legs. Before I knew it I was well past the second mile marker. As I felt the pain with each step, I whispered his name. I looked across the lake and saw the peace and tranquility and could only feel hope that he too will feel comfort soon, perhaps by a development made possible by the Arthritis Foundation.

I pushed on, rain beating down and felt a renewed admiration and love for my husband. He is a good man, fighting a battle that most people could not endure. He lives his life with pain but holds his head high. My heart swelled as I saw the finish line and whispered, "we're almost there, baby."

While I was nearly the last to walk through - I had to throw up my arms
as we crossed the finish line. We did it!


  1. Liz, I can not begin to say how proud I am of you! As I read your post I felt the tears well up and fall down my face, not only for your thoughts and compassion but for the shear fact of knowing how far YOU have come!

    Thank you for being such and inspiration!

  2. Renee, Thank you so much for being such a kind and supportive friend!

  3. You are a miracle in progress! Congrats on taking each and every step forward!


  4. Wow! My Grandma has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis from the time she was a teen. She passed away after having surgery on her rotary cuff because the arthritis in her shoulder was so bad she could not lift her arm. Your posts about your husband and about this 5k have really hit home for me. Although it has been many years since my grandma passed, I still miss her dearly and the affects of this disease are forever imprinted on my memory and heart. Thank you for what you have done! And I believe I will find then next 5k in my area for the Arthitis foundation.