So, the exhale after such a tough, painful, exhausting and wrenching week. I started this post yesterday but it feels so much different writing it now, today. Of course there is still ongoing grief and healing ahead, but still. Whew.
On Thursday, I attended a run and candlelight vigil for Boston, the Boston Marathon bombing victims, the runners and spectators, the whole community, well all of us. It was co-organized by See Jane Run and the Oakland Running Festival, two organizations that I love and feel so connected to. I have run two See Jane Run 5k races here and here, and am registered to run in their half marathon in June (and hopefully the See Jane Tri in September also!). I have also participated in the Oakland Running Festival three times: the marathon relay, the 5k and the half marathon. They are like my “home” races and I feel such affection for them.
It was fitting that the 3-mile run start at the See Jane Run store and finish at Snow Park, where the Oakland Running Festival began and end. I was not so sure that I’d be running any or much of it. Until the day before, my hip had been really, really bothering me, ever since the Oakland half. I tried to get a physical therapy appointment but there was nothing available until the end of May. I was sort of resigned to the fact that I’d be walking, or maybe jogging super-slow.
I took an Ibuprofen before I left the house. By the time I got to the start of the event, I was actually feeling pretty good; ie., pain-free. Shock. There were hundreds of people milling about in front of the store. Most people were wearing blue and yellow, the Boston Marathon colors.
I actually arrived there about one minute before the run began. Before I could get my bearings, people took off. At first we had been told that we would be running on sidewalks only, but there were so many of us, it turns out we got to run down College Avenue for quite a ways, and there was a police car escort complete with flashing lights. I was running with my buddy/coworker/boss Stacey, and I realized I would have to keep up a slow running pace if I was going to stay ahead of the police car. I didn’t want to get swept for the first time in my life! If we were going to stay in the middle of the street (as opposed to on the sidewalk) we were going to have to run. I figured I would go as long as I was able, then I’d slow down, walk, or hit the sidewalk.
And here’s the thing. That moment never happened. When we turned from College Avenue onto Broadway, everyone pretty much got on the sidewalk. The police car stayed nearby and actually blocked all the intersections so we could cross them. Stacey kept asking me how I was doing. I was sort of amazed that I was doing just fine. My hip wasn’t hurting! And suddenly I thought, maybe this was just the therapy I needed: RUNNING. Because walking has been none too comfortable in the past couple of weeks. It was fun running with another physical therapist as we discussed the possibilities of having tendinitis vs trochanteric bursitis or whatever. But the best part was that it was NOT acting up during this run!
I actually hadn’t anticipated running much, or at all. I was wearing a big clunky backpack thing that I had loaded up with my wallet, jacket, a bunch of Runners United to Remember race bib printouts, some packaging tape and safety pins and a pair of scissors. This would have been fine to amble along in, but running.. not so much. Hah. Awkward.
Three miles felt just right. We got to Snow Park just as it was getting dark. There weren’t enough candles to go around (how awesome that there were way more people than had been anticipated), but a woman near us was handing out little blue clip lights, and she gave us each one. (thank you nice person!) It was really nice that the neighborhood Trader Joe’s for donating bottles of water. Much needed.
A minister from First Presbyterian Church of Oakland stood on a bench and spoke some comforting and inspiring words. It was so moving. She led an interfaith prayer, my favorite kind. As we were dispersing, I saw another little knot of people gathered around someone who was leading a cheer for Boston. Turns out it was my coach Al from Team in Training. It was so good to see him and give him a team hug.
After the run, we carpooled back to the starting point. Convenient that See Jane Run is located just steps away from Zachary’s pizza. I hadn’t had Zachary’s stuffed spinach and mushroom pizza in like… years. There were lots of other runners in there (great minds, etc). There were a few of the Boston Marathon runners in there (who, unlike us, had run round trip six miles!). We were going to buy them a pitcher of beer but, being marathon runners, all they were drinking was water.
All in all, it was a really uplifting and moving event. I was happy to be part of it. I wonder if the positive nature of it had something to do with the miraculous healing of my hip. One never knows!
Later , exciting to see that we were on the news! (see us running at the very back o the pack, 1:43 mark – you can see my crazy bouncing backpack!)
Thanks again to See Jane Run and Oakland Running Festival for putting together such a meaningful and uplifting community event. We needed it.