Tag Archives: running partner

Up, Up and Away

Yesterday was a special day for several reasons. For one, I got to run a race with my favorite running partner and best bud, Mary Ann Ring. It was our first race together since a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in 2009. In the intervening time, injuries and a major health issue prevented us from competing together.

But hey, as runners know, these setbacks merely serve to remind us that we are not invincible and we just have to work to get back to the road. So anyway, yesterday we got to run the Up, Up and Away 5k at the Flag City BalloonFest in Findlay. The race, the 9th Up, Up and Away5k organized by the Findlay Striders, benefited the Hancock County Special Olympics.

Competing together is different than competing against each other. She’s younger than me, so we’re never in the same age group. So our plan is usually just to stick together in our race against “The Others”.

Award made by Special Olympics Athlete

But here’s the thing. She announced to me the night before that she wanted to beat :25:00. Inwardly I groaned. See, I beat that mark a long time ago, but now that I’m older, my times keep getting slower. But who am I to stand in the way of her goal? Rather than wimping out and sending her on her merry little way, my brain simply informed my legs that it was going to be up to them to stick to her side…or at least within a stride or two away.

Besides, I had my own reasons for wanting to do well — thanks to my recent birthday, I’d moved up to the next age group. I’d made the mistake of checking out last year’s age group results, and I knew if I wanted to be competitive, I’d have to stick to Mary’s goal.

It was a perfect day for a race – temp about 63, bearable humidity, lots of cheerful runners, and a bunch of hot air balloons overhead to keep us entertained along the out and back route. This is actually the best kind of route, because you can keep an eye on who’s ahead of you at the turnaround. The one guy we both had our eye on was Mary’s husband, Greg, who had his own goal, so he was flying up ahead of us.

Thanks to Mary’s determination, we met both of our goals — we ended the finish line almost side by side in :24:48, which is an 8-minute pace. Not bad for two old ladies, eh?

But that really wasn’t the best part of the day. That came a little later when together we watched a 15-year-old disabled boy — who had popped out of his wheelchair to participate in the 0ne-mile fun run — complete the race running his heart out. There wasn’t a dry eye in sight.

In the 30 plus years I’ve been running, I’ve been lucky to earn a lot of trophies, most of which are in the attic, gathering dust. But the award I earned yesterday was by far the most meaningful one. It’s a small wooden star pin, adorned with the number “1” and embellished with jewels. What makes it so special?  It was made by a Special Olympics Athlete.


Random thoughts, my usual fall-back blog topic, seems too, well, random. Musings sound so much more meditative, more thoughtful. Since I’ve been on a short four-day weekend “vacation”, my time to muse meditatively has been productive.

Technically, this was a “staycation”, although it was really anything but. “Staycation” would suggest “staying”, easing back onto the patio chairs, and doing nothing but reading, resting and drinking something tall and cool. In reality, these four days have been more movement-oriented, though there have been quite a few tall, cool, ones.

So technicalities aside, these are some of the musings I’ve mulled over during the past three and one-third days:

1. Massages are well worth the money spent. They’d probably be even more worthwhile if the MASSAGEE paid attention to the MASSAGER’S caution to “take it easy for the day…don’t do anything heavy duty.”  That cautionary note must have missed the part of the brain that understands and processes messages, because two hours later, my electric Mantis appeared on my patio. Freshly repaired, and bearing shiny new rotors, it begged to be tested. So I hoisted the little tiller to my herb garden and happily tilled away. My husband offered to move some flagstones for me, then stood back and grinned. Only he knows how truly excited I was to be able to use the Mantis. Just a year ago, I wasn’t in any shape to do gardening of any kind, and we weren’t sure when or if I’d get to do so again. I even pulled weeds and smiled…much to the chagrin of my massage therapist, Joy Stemen. who chided me for ignoring her.

2. Listening to Car Talk on my morning run makes me wonder what car mechanics think when someone comes in with a car problem and explains the solution as suggested by Click and Clack. There’s probably a lot of eye-rolling. Anyway, I’ve been planning my own call to Car Talk. All the callers are from big cities…never any little towns like Bluffton, Ohio. I want to be the first. And I have the perfect problem. A few months before we retrieved our 1997 Dodge Caravan from our daughter, she’d turned on the van only to find the dashboard dark. Nothing lit up. Hm…she drove to the Dodge dealer and explained the problem to the woman at the service desk. The woman grinned and accompanied her to the van, where she gave a hearty smack to the top of the dash. Bingo! On blinked the dash lights. Her comment? “Fixed that problem, eh?” This happened again a few weeks ago, so Fred whacked it once and they blinked back on. But I’m just curious enough to call the  Magliozzi’s for their take on this curiosity…if only to hear them mangle “Bluffton”.

3. Yesterday, we moved more of our daughter’s “stuff” to her new apartment. Ike, of course, went along for the ride and as soon as he stepped in the house, the cat went into hiding. We looked everywhere. High, low, under beds, in closets, behind the fridge. No Casio. Anne, however, was not giving up. After about 30 minutes of looking, she got down on the floor and found a hole about four inches in diameter, leading to a larger space in the cabinet area. Peering inside, she saw two bright eyes staring out at her. You have to understand. Casio is not a kitten. He is a more-than-full-grown cat. Huge, in fact. Almost as big as Ike.We managed to entice him out with some catnip. How can a cat squeeze his body into a hole smaller than his head?

4. I am of the belief that one cannot have too many white shirts. My daughters used to laugh when I went shopping because they could predict I’d return with at least one white shirt. This is true. I still do this. I’m sure my therapist would have some Freudian explanation for this fixation. If I lined all my shirts up by color, there would be a gazillion white ones — each different — followed by other hues in singles. Oh, except for black. I am also of the belief that one cannot have too many black shirts. I’d say it is fortunate that the girls no longer get to examine my shopping bags, but it doesn’t matter. They come home and go straight to my closet to count the whites. And the blacks.

5. Why do some people have such nice, pleasant dreams and I have such stupid ones that wake me up at ungodly hours? I used to blame this on my mother’s side of the family, because she has equally odd dreams. But a Pannabecker cousin recently mentioned that my dream sounded like the ones she has. Guess I can’t blame it on the Suters anymore. The most recent one involved someone’s dogs having puppies in the car while my oldest brother was driving. Cute though the puppies were, they were expelling worms. Ewww…but even that one doesn’t match my all-time worst nightmare of pulling nails from my skin. In handfuls.

6. My friend and running partner, Mary, and I received the same Mother’s Day card. Mine came from my daughter, hers from her father-in-law. When I got mine, I called my daughter to thank her and ask if they came in other names. Dead silence on her part, then a big guffaw. “Mom, think about it. What other name would work in the “punchline” on the inside?. Eat, drink and be…?” This proves to me…once again….that there should be a club of Marys. We could count how many of had to smile politely as old men teased us as children, “How does your garden grow?”

I wonder if other people muse their days away like I do?