On Thursday, March 27th, 2014 @ 6:30 PM, I had journeyed out on my first outdoor run since October 2013. The purpose of this endeavor was helping raise money and awareness to the plight of the homeless in Seminole County Florida. For myself, the point was just to see how my aging, 42 year old body might fair at the end of a business day. Some fellow work friends had inquired, ”Are you going to run or walk?” My response was, “Just have to see what happens!”
On the day before the run, a work email was sent out listing all the registered participants. Though registering for the event online, my name was missing. Following up with the in house organizer, I had requested being placed on standby for any cancellations. Writing off that possibility Wednesday night, I had awoke at 3 AM Thursday morning hoping to wrap up loose ends on an IT project; however, the day was marred by frustration and disappointment copying files from one portion of a SAN (i.e. fancy disk system) to another. The phrase,”Soooo slow” was echoed by one peer embodying the morning’s events. Think this was the theme for most of the day. Then, an unexpected chat window from an event coordinator had materialized on my laptop display. Someone from the list of registrants had called out sick. I was thinking, “Okay I’m in. Let me turn this day around.”
With the 5K kicking off promptly at 6:30 PM, I had cruised the first mile with a brisk clip. At 1.5 miles in, I had felt my calve muscles starting to cramp from too much afternoon caffeine consumption. In an effort to maintain pace, I had employed a routine from a friend alternating a walk and run every minute or so. With that technique, I was able to bridge the next 1.5 miles at a moderate clip. Coming around the final corner, I had switched to walking again. Pulling up on the left side, one of my co-workers had encouraged me to “finish strong!” For some reason, I was reinvigorated by his inspirational phrase. That act of comradery had provided me with a descent final run time.
At age 42, a 5k at 30 minutes 40 seconds were quantifiable, some say, respectable numbers. More important was bridging these moments to the failing health of someone close to me over the weekend. That person, age 38, had experienced a potential stroke including loss of facial muscle control. I had not known anyone that close to me or young to suffer such a physical setback. I had never felt so helpless to fix a problem. With each tomorrow, I had to waited to see what happens with his condition. For today, I had only hoped to motivate him, like my co-worker, down the road that lies ahead.
Update: The stroke was a misdiagnosis of Bell’s Palsy.