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Another 5K and Mother's Day

Last weekend I participated in the Healthy Heart Women's Classic, my second (and probably last) 5K of the season. I had originally registered to run in the Miles for Moffitt 5K at USF with Joe that same day, but he came down with a bad cold soon before the event, and Anna had already planned to participate in the Women's Classic, so I decided to run with her and Gabe, rather than by myself. I had already made my nonrefundable philanthropic contribution to Moffitt, a cancer institute associated with USF, so I figured they certainly wouldn't miss me if I didn't show.

The Women's Classic took place at Al Lopez Park, which is actually quite beautiful and filled with plenty of trees for shade. This run was significantly smaller than the last run I was in--I doubt there were more than 100 participants--and about 99% of the participants were women (way to represent, Gabe). What was most significant about this run, however, was that Anna's organization, The Ophelia Project, was sponsoring a group of girls for their Girls on the Run program, which encourages healthy behaviors, such as running, in pre-teen girls. Some of these girls were not runners, but they had been training somewhat with running coaches in the weeks leading up to the event. Anna asked if I would be a "running buddy" and stick with one of the girls during the run. I hesitated to commit, because in the back of my mind I was thinking I had to beat my last time of 36 minutes. So I just dodged an answer. I'd make that decision at the last minute.

Just as the run began, I felt a surging sense of civic duty to run with one of the girls as much as possible, so I stayed with Anna and two girls in the program, but after about fifty feet the girls lost wind and fell back at a walking pace. I cringed and tried running in place, then backwards, but when that proved impossible, I decided I had to work toward my own personal goal and try to beat my time. I took off and left the girls behind with Anna. I ran most of the race by myself, sometimes falling into pace with other women. I found it difficult to know if I was pacing myself well or pushing myself hard enough. In the end I came in two minutes earlier than my last race time, which is certainly an improvement, but not as much as I'd hoped for.

I found Gabe waiting around in the park after having completed his run in 28 or 29 minutes, and we waited for a while for Anna to come in with one or both of her girls. After 50 minutes, we went looking for her along the running path and finally saw her with one of the girls, briskly walking along and chatting. They were dead last. We joined them, as did the running coaches, and, closer to the finish line, the girl's dad. It was kind of an inspirational moment when we all picked up the pace to run with her across the finish line. I was choked up for sure. Even though she came in at about 57 minutes, which the time caller didn't bother to call out loud, I felt a lot of pride for the girl (Lassandra?) for finishing the race, and for Anna for unselfishly sticking with her the whole way.

*****

Later that day I willingly got in a car with Joe, Anna, and Gabe to drive to Mount Dora for Mother's Day. It's significant to say that I willingly got in the car with them because two of them were sick (Anna and Joe). This made for a rather rough, but spirited weekend trip. We stopped in Orlando to have dinner with Dad, which was a somewhat botched event, since the highly anticipated meal at Bonefish Grille was replaced by a mediocre Italian experience at the restaurant next door that did not have a 60 minute wait.

We settled in at Mom's later that evening and went to sleep so we could get up early to prepare Mother's Day breakfast and then head out to the new pontoon for some lake touring. Breakfast turned out to be delicious, with Gabe on the quiches, Catie preparing the french toast, and me--where else, but at the fruit bowl.

It was a windy morning when we all loaded onto the boat, Adrienne and Grandma now in tow, and Perry whipped us through the rough waters quite speedily until we reached the canal. It was suddenly very serene and scenic maneuvering through the canal, with little turtles bathing on logs, blue herons watching us in stillness, and even a couple of alligators poking their beady eyes above water. We all enjoyed the peace of nature together as other holiday boaters passed us by.

After returning safely to land, we convened at the Frosty Mug for lunch, where Pattie met up with us. We visited over salads, sandwiches, and fish 'n' chips, and then we returned to Mom's house for ice cream sundaes. It was a long and full day, especially for the two sickos, and us kids were ready to head home.

That evening Joe slept for 13 hours straight, and I shifted around the house uncomfortably, sensing some dark viral entity looming over my body, ready to strike as soon as I let my guard down.

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