Monday, May 15, 2006

So Inspirational & So Sore!

Yesterday I did the Y-Me 5K Walk for Breast Cancer in Grant Park in beautiful downtown Chicago. The day started out painfully enough with a Sunday morning alarm at 5:45. Ugh.... I was walking with several friends and scheduled to meet at lovely Rosana's house at 7:00.
Problem 1.) it's been about 50 degrees here lately.
Problem 2.) It's been raining for about a week and was still raining when I got up with no chance of sunshine in sight.

That being said, while contemplating calling my friend and claiming sick, I had a good breakfast of a yummy fresh sesame bagel with chive cream cheese and Nova Lox from this fabulous and ancient Jewish deli. I pack up my bag, donned my weighted shoes (they're ergonomically designed so that I won't have back problems from walking so much [at the time I thought it was a good idea, I swear]), and dragged DH out of bed (he was scheduled for a long bike ride with Rosana's hubby).

We drove over to their house where I met up with 3 other ladies and we headed down to the CTA (public transport). There were 5 of us that travelled together; Rosana, Judith, Teri, me and Kiki. (We picked up Kiki on the way to the train)

Between the above ground trip from O'Hare and the subway ride downtown, the rain stopped (whew!). When we arrived downtown the trip up the stairs was enough to start us all grousing but even in the subway there were easily 150 people dressed for the race/walk.

We walked over to Columbus and Balbo where we met up with the rest of our group Hemanas y Amigas.

Though we complained and moaned the whole way down about being awake so early and we all fessed up to calling Rosana and claiming sick, once we got there the feeling was amazing. The event organizers said 20,000 people registered to walk or run and they were expecting 30,000 on race day. There were so many people there! Young, old, families, couples, dogs and more.

As I looked around at all the people, I knew I was glad I brought some tissue with me.
While we were waiting to start there was an African American family near us. They had a big parade type banner that said "In loving memory of Althea A-something(one of their family members). 1965 -2000". She was 35. The WHOLE family was there. There were young men with corn rows, do-rags and big gold jewelry walking right next to their grandmas, the whole family wearing bright pink Y-Me Race for the Cure t-shirts.

There was an elderly couple right behind us, he was in a wheel chair and she was going to push him the whole way. Their t-shirts said "In Loving Memory of our Daughter".

There were women there with "Survivor" T-shirts where they'd written in the number of years they'd been alive since their diagnosis. Those families often pulled little red wagons with small children whose t-shirts said "Reason for Living"

Let's just say I was glad I brought kleenex.

The runners went before the walkers. The first loop of the run/walk brought the runners back past the walking crowd where we were perfectly sationed to see them go by. As is expected, there were a few of those really skinny "Running Men" who went by in first and second place, then the pack started to come through. The beginning of the pack was mostly men (hooray, woot!, Go Runners! we all screamed)... and then there was a woman: the crowd went wild!

While we waited for the walking crowd to catch up to where we stood we watched the runners go by some more. And then a 9 year old boy ran by near the head of the pack. A few seconds later... an even younger boy (7 or 8). So fast!! I was amazed and touched and then thought about why they might be running. Just to run? or maybe... Mom? Grandma? Auntie? (Oh Lord, grab the kleenex) Did I mention I'm a big sap? They were so fast!! It was wonderful.

So, we walked. And laughed. And talked. And laughed some more. Everyone was smiling and greeting eachother. There were so many teams with custominzed team t-shirts with a picture of some woman or man on their shirts. "In Loving Memory of..." "Beauty and the Breast" "Team Betsy's Boobies" and more.

Remember those weighted shoes? Yeah, my back doesn't hurt but, OY my legs! After running to catch the train, the mile to the race from the train, the 5K walk and the 3 mile walk to lunch afterwards... I'm movin' a little slow today.

I'll be there next year all the same.


Blogger Zippianna said...

Way to go, Jen! Thanks for doing the 5K walk. Amazing. Did those weighted shoes really help?

12:48 AM  
Blogger Chicago Jen said...

Zippi, yep, the shoes really do help. I love them, they're called Metatreks and they're fabulous.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...


I must know where you get the weighted shoes. My nurse legs are dying these days. I'll try anything to keep the pace without pain later.

Good for you for doing the walk. IM proudER to know ya!

7:28 PM  

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