Tutus and Tiaras

So there is a ladies walking group I meet up with on Mondays and Thursdays. We walk a loop that’s about 2-1/4 miles at varying paces. Some of us got together for this year’s Wilma Dash. This benefits the Pretty in Pink Foundation which helps women in their battles against breast cancer. The slogan for the 5-K is “It’s not always about who crosses the finish line first, but crossing it with style!”


Most runners/walkers were in groups representing their companies, churches, neighborhoods, or just friendships. There were pink frilly tutus, yellow frothy tutus, gaudy 5″ high sequined tiaras, more tasteful rhinestone-studded ones, t-shirts emblazoned with quotes, slogans and catchy phrases (S.W.A.T.T.– Sprinters, Walkers and Trash-talkers), stetsons, floppy beach hats and gilded visors. There was even a funky chicken. I cannot imagine how hot it must have been in that suit. A field of over 800 runners and walkers, all crammed on Water Street beneath a billowy starting gate.

At the sound of the fog horn this human mosaic began moving as one, then separating, then emerging individually up the first challenging hill. Women who successfully battled cancer and won. Women who ran for those who could not. Women who ran for those who ran for them when they could not. Women with strollers, moms for fitness with children and without them, any age imaginable, everyone in the bright hot sun enjoying every moment. Cheering along the street sides were husbands, boyfriends, families, bystanders, and one guy with a mobile set of drums making up happy lyrics as each wave of women passed.

I usually run or walk with my rescue dog Lily every morning before sunrise for a couple of miles. A 5-K is only about 3.1 miles, how much harder could it be?

In the blazing hot sun, up and down gently rolling hills, along cobbled streets it turns out, a lot harder. Well, harder than I thought. Some women sheepishly taking shortcuts across city blocks, I pressed on, breaking stride now and then to walk 20-30-40 feet and catch my breath. then running, more sweat than I imagined I could ever lose pouring down under my baseball-capped face. Feeling better noticing other women with the same results.

38:52, final time. Probably shameful but I am very proud of that time….

I can’t wait till next year!

Best intentions

One of my best attributes is also one of my greatest failings. I am a good listener. But if someone asks me to tell a bit about myself I need a necessary, built-in stop. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, another adage heard first from my ex-husband. This is not to say my parents did not attempt to instill me with wisdom, they just didn’t use cliches. They rather chose to either lead by example, or explain truth and wisdom whenever I fell into a self-made mudhole, which in my life happened more often than I like to remember. According to Wikipedia, if you ascribe to their site, “Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote (c. 1150), ‘L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs’ (hell is full of good wishes and desires). An earlier saying occurs in Virgil’s Aeneid: ‘facilis descensus Averno’ (It is easy to go to hell).” (1)

So today I took a meal to an acquaintance who is finishing a round of chemo for triple-negative breast cancer. Today she needed to talk. Today she needed someone to listen. We began our visit with a question from her: Tell her a bit more about myself, was I working, where I grew up, went to school. So on my tapestry ride I forgot that this was not an everyday friend visit. This is a person with maybe numbered days. Well, we all have numbered days but hers may be less than hoped. Her stamina is not strong. She needs more rest. She began a few times (once ignored is inexcusable) to tell me her thoughts, hopes, considerations of her now and possibilities of the chance of a then. I needed to shut down. Give her the floor, the spotlight, not try to intervene, associate my experience with hers. On my last visit I told her how brave I think she is. Today she needed to tell me. So when I realized my overtime was up and stood to go, she apologized for her pain. I said something absurd like I could imagine. Really?? immediately I corrected myself. No, I cannot imagine, I demurred, and said that I would see her again.

I hope so.

(1) (–Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization). ^ Christine Ammer (1997), The American Heritage dictionary of idioms, ISBN 9780395727744 ^ Mrs E. B. Mawr (1885), “Hell is paved with good intentions”, Analogous Proverbs In Ten Languages, Elliot Stock