THE ODDS (Debbie Does ALS)


Memorial Day 2010

The alarm went off at 5 AM and John got me out of bed. I performed my morning ablutions, put on some makeup, leaned my left elbow on my dresser then ran the fingers of my left hand through my hair, and made my way down the hall and into the dining room where I sat at my computer and waited for Lynne. That most worthy gentlewoman arrived at 6 AM as planned whereupon she loaded the wheelchair and the wheelchair's user into her vehicle and off we went to the Memorial Day 10K race in downtown Fredericksburg.

I have not been to a race in a very long time, primarily because I could not (would not) get my lazy butt out of bed AND because of the weather/temperature. These days I am so well rested and the temperature is so ALS-friendly that, when Lynne said she was running the race, I asked if she would bring me along. As you can tell from the first paragraph, she did.

Comfortably situated in the wheelchair, we rolled over to the public library where Lynne registered for the race. While she was inside I waited in the courtyard and watched all the runners as they went to and fro; I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel pangs of envy and anger but they passed --eventually. Registered, Lynne came out and said she had to go to her car to get her shoes. Pushing me along would have slowed her down so I stayed put while she ran off. At this point a few women came over to talk -- I didn't know any of them very well so the conversation was short. I was grateful when yet another woman walked up, one I do know well and with whom I ran quite a lot before Lynne and I became marathon and running partners. She and I struck up a conversation about an upcoming get-together, I told her all about Becky's engagement, I thanked her for the stair glide she'd given me, etc. etc. By this time Lynne had returned but, true to form, she had to make a Porta John stop. Jannette offered to push me to the finish while Lynne waited in line. Once settled, Jannette hurried off to the start. Lynne left her keys and her water bottle with me and off she went as well.

The race started and, while I was waiting, I encountered several other people I knew and had nice chats with all of them. More than once people commented on how hot the temperature was and how dreadful it must be to be racing -- the pangs of envy I felt earlier were nowhere to be found! I never was a hot weather runner and I was actually glad of my stupid wheelchair for giving me an excuse not to have to run. Wait, that's too extreme. I am never glad of my stupid wheelchair. ANYWAY, it was hot and I was glad I was not running.

Lynne finished, declaring loudly that it was hot and she needed to lose 5 pounds (she doesn't). Still amazingly strong after having pushed through miserable temperatures, she rolled me over to the library parking lot where there were a beer truck and after race snacks. Even though I did not race I still partook of a post-race beverage and a bagel -- after all, I had not yet had my breakfast and what better breakfast is there? As I did not think to bring a straw, drinking the beer was a little sketchy but I managed to acquit myself well. Not long after, Jannette made her way over knowing that we would be found at the beer truck. I do have a reputation, don't I?

Jannette told me that, as she ran, she was thinking of a way I might be able to experience running and racing one more time. She asked how I would feel if a group ran together and took turns pushing me in my chair. I answer that I would love to do something like that but my chair was not very road friendly. Undeterred, Jannette stated she would look for a roadworthy wheelchair and would put together a group. I have to tell you -- if my friends were to pull off something like this, allowing me to be part of a race with the women who taught me how to love the sport, I would be deliriously happy. I don't know if it will ever come together, but just knowing my friends would want to do that is enough.

Maybe I need to lose 5 pounds before this happens. One does not want one's friends to regret an act of kindness...

Lynne brought me home and got me settled with my morning meds and coffee before she took off, promising to see me Wednesday (her "share the care" day). Not for the first time I thought to myself how very, very lucky I am to have her as a friend.

I hope everyone had as lovely a Memorial Day weekend as did I. Let's see what June brings.

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