Saturday, July 21, 2007

5K, all the way (gosh, it was a pretty day!)

Meelyn and my husband (also known as "Daddy") ran a 5K this morning in a pretty little town near our city, set up as a memorial to honor a local VIP who died of heart disease several years ago. They came in at about thirty-eight minutes, Meelyn white and panting due to the fact that she'd only put in about two hours of training for this run; those were the only two hours, in all honesty, that she's put into running since the 500 Festival Indy Mini-Marathon at the beginning of May.

However, it still was a finish and that's what counts. Nanny, Poppy, Aisling, Hershey, Wimzie and I were on hand to cheer them across the finish line. We started shouting and clapping as soon as they hove into sight, about five hundred yards from the finish line. Hershey and Wimzie perked up their ears as they recognized members of their family. There they are! We recognize their smell! Is it possible that, wherever they were, they came back with dog biscuits? Or maybe a ham?

This particular 5K was also a Stroller Push and a Dog Walk, which made for a very varied and entertaining crowd. Happy dogs and sleepy babies were all over the place, most notably a tiny girl in orange Crocs who was arranged in her stroller as if it was Cleopatra's sedan chair, hands posed gracefully on the armrests, feet planted firmly on the footrest, regally observing the humble peasants to her right and left. I halfway expected her to bust out that Queen Elizabeth wave.

There was also a black Lab and a hyperactive beagle that Hershey and Wimzie took against in a violent way. We saw a hundred or more dogs of every breed and size and Hershey and Wimzie looked at them affably, their tongues lolling. But that Lab and the beagle...woo. Every time we saw them, Wimzie would charge and Hershey would bounce around, barking like an idiot, in spite of the fact that he was wearing his Outward Hound doggie backpack, loaded down with two water bottles.

The Lab disdainfully ignored them, but the beagle burst forth in an ear-splitting "Baaaarooooo! BaAaaaaaAAAaRrRrrrOooOOOoooooo!!!!" every time he laid eyes on them, yanking his owner's leash. Come one step closer and you are so totally dead. Dead! I will kill you! Or if not that, I will deafen you with my barking! And you have no hands to speak American Sign Language! Ha ha ha! No thumbs, you thumbless un-thumbed paw creatures!

The park where the beginning and the finish of this race took place in the city's park, a beautiful place to be on a beautiful day. My parents, Aisling, the dogs and I walked beside the river and my dad showed us the little dammed area (okay, I'm sorry, but that just makes me laugh) where he and his teenage friends used to swim in back in 1958 or so, probably listening to Brenda Lee and Roy Orbison on the drive over from the tiny little town they lived in, which had no swimmin' hole.

The four of us (plus the dogs) found a place where we could see the finish line and all the runners coming in; we appointed ourselves Official Cheering Section, mostly because my mother finds it difficult to stand still or even sit without talking, whooping or yelping that a bug landed on her shirt. We arranged ourselves on a boulder, clapping and shouting, "Good job!" as the first runners came through. They were all high school boys from the city's high school and they did not deign to acknowledge our presence.

One boy came through, shirtless, his six-pack abs of steel gleaming with sweat and my mother called out, "Wooooooooo-hooooooooooooooo!!! Good job!"

"Mom," I said, poking her in the side. "Do not shout out 'wooo-hooo,' okay? It sounds like you're admiring his body."

She poked me back, making one of those tutting sounds with her tongue. "You have such a dirty mind. I raised you better than that."

"Aisling," I said, "what would you think if I told you that Nanny shouted out 'woooo-hoooo' to some high school boy as he ran by?"

Aisling raised her eyebrows. "Man, Nanny. You are some kind of big flirt, girl. He's going to think you were checkin' him out," she said, giggling.

"I was not!" said my mother indignantly.

"Just don't flash your boobs, okay?" I asked her, gleefully recalling the time she visited New Orleans with my dad one winter and came back with about fifty strands of Mardi Gras beads, which she was proudly displaying to all her friends. It was only when my brother, sister-in-law, husband and I informed her just exactly how women win those beads that she hastily buried them in the bottom of the dress-up box in the guest room. Naturally, we have never let her forget it, not even for one single second.

"Shuuuut uuuuuup," she hissed at me.

"I'm just sayin'."

For all I know, this could be a picture of my mother.
Photo credit:

The runners came through in clumps, some of them smiling and saying thanks as they ran by, others looking like they were going to be lucky to cross the finish line. A few, like those first high school boys, loftily ignored us. My mother expressed the hope that there was a defibrillator in the check out tent. My dad was mostly silent, as usual, breaking his shield of reserve only to compare running unfavorably with golf. Dog walkers and stroller pushers came by and Wimzie and Hershey kept a close watch for that black Lab and the much-hated beagle. Several people stopped by our boulder to comment on the handsomeness of Hershey's dark green backpack, which he was wearing with pride. Wimzie jumped onto the boulder to get a better look at a dachsund puppy and nearly fell off the other side.

After about half an hour of cheering, clapping, dog-and-baby-cuteness commenting, laughing at my dad and forcibly restraining my mother from flirting with any more male runners, Meelyn and my husband came along. We cheered them over the finish line and they claimed their goody bags. It's amazing how much easier it is to find one another when there are 400 runners instead of 35,000.

The sun was bright, the light breeze was pleasant. What a beautiful day for a run and a walk.

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