Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in the Rocky Run here in Philly. It was a 5k or a 10k run or Ralk. I just made that up because that’s what I did. The festivities started where else but at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Rocky ran those beautiful steps giving everyone hope that the underdog can make it to the top with nothing more than determination.
My dear partner in crime a/k/a the Lucy to my Ethel signed us up for this event for several reasons, the first being the big fat medal you get when it’s over. Sad, but true. Little did we know we would be getting so much more out of this experience.
All 7,000 participants were broken down into corals based on their run time. The folks in the front of the line were hardcore wearing all the proper running gear, that they no doubt wear every single day of their lives. Let’s just say things started to look differently as we headed to our coral at the back of the line.
We went from a sea of Nike logos to a middle-aged man dressed as “Hulk Hogan” holding a model of Rocky made of balloons in a few small steps. I seriously debated having my corneas burned after this site.
I was suddenly back in grade school when our math groups divided us by using the names of flowers. Row one was filled with roses, while me and the rest of the dandelions sat in row six. Those Catholic schools really knew how to make us feel like shit! I think it’s safe to say that Sister Mary Make Me Feel Like Shit underestimated the resilience of a dandelion …. just try to get rid on one in your yard, I dare ya!
We stood in our coral of racing misfits eyeing up our “competition” and confirmed that there was NO WAY the Louie Anderson look-alike was crossing that finish line before Lucy & Ethel. Game on!
The Eye of the Tiger was playing over the speakers and we were off running, only to be stopped in our tracks by a huge crack on the running path …. oh yes, the crack of Hulk Hogan’s ASS was right, dare I say…. in FRONT of us! Once the nausea passed we blew past him determined to leave him in our dust.
You can all thank Lucy for this photo. It wasn’t easy for her to capture the essence of the moment while moving in a crowd of running people. All in the name of “what NOT to wear” for a list a mile freaking long!
Once we left that crack in the road behind us we were able to see the true beauty of our city. The race went along Boathouse Row, which just happens to be one of my favorite city landmarks. It is located on the east bank of the Schuykill River and home of social and rowing clubs, each having their own history. They are gorgeous day and night.
This entire area oozes with architecture genius that put the skyscrapers in the background to shame. Structures such as the Fairmount Water Works and The Philadelphia Art Museum are certainly a thing of the past. Another reminder that change is everywhere.
We finished in less than an hour and that included several stops along the way for pictures, laughing and of course … trying not to pee our pants on this very cold morning. 50 year-old female problems.
We celebrated with free protein bars and water before heading over to tackle those famous museum steps like Rocky! When in Rome ….
It was a morning filled with a bit of everything, especially some much-needed soul feeding.
- Belly laughter with a friend
- Ralking among the beauty of my city
- 15,000 steps on my Garmin before 10:00 a.m.; and
- Feeling like a CHAMPION were the perfect way to Enjoy the Ride!
Tell us about the last thing you got excited about — butterflies-in-the-stomach, giggling, can’t-wait excited.
Well, recently I did something so far out of my normal realm I’m still not sure what came over me. Maybe I’m going through a little MLC of my own. Was I excited to jump into this venture head first? That would depend on your definition of “excited.” Did I have butterflies-in the-stomach? Um, it felt more like a flock of geese, but yes. Was there that giggling, can’t wait excited feeling? In my world there is always giggling, but in this case, it was the let’s just make fun of ourselves in order to survive kind of giggling, so yes, there was in fact lots of giggling.
I bet you’re on the edge of your seats wondering what the hell I’ve been keeping from you all……Drum Roll Please.
The answer is CrossFit (this is in red to signify the fires of hell I endure every time I attend class). If anyone is wondering “what the hell is CrossFit?” The official definition is: CrossFit is a strength and conditioning brand. CrossFit combines weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics. My definition is: CrossFit is a love/hate relationship that will push you to thoughts of self demise and euphoria in the same hour. CrossFit does not discriminate against any of your muscle groups, in fact, parts of your body will hurt that you weren’t even aware existed.
This all came to life after meeting a long-time friend for coffee. Maybe someone slipped something into our Lattes. My friend started telling me how she wanted to try CrossFit, which I never heard of and I shared that I wanted to try one of those Mud races….Muddrella to be exact, which she never heard of and this folks is how insanity was born. Two crazy ideas shacking up in the middle of a Starbucks produced a bundle of over zealous confidence that brought us to sign our lives away to a CrossFit facility.
You see, my dear friend and I are approaching milestone, or as I like to call them, “very special birthdays” soon. One of us (not me) isn’t venturing into this next chapter with the same vigor as someone else (me). You see, she confessed that this is the first Summer she hasn’t worn a bikini. Tragic, I know. She was looking for something challenging so she wouldn’t turn into “one of those hideous older people” as she so eloquently described it. She could never be hideous, but I knew exactly what she meant.
This conversation provoked me to do some math and I came to the horrific realization that this is my 21st year without wearing a bikini, along with my 5th year without wearing a bathing suit of any kind, so I think it’s safe to say that I was just a Christmas sweater away from a catastrophic level of hideous aging. YIKES! All I can say is … THANK GOD for whatever divine intervention led us to meet for coffee that day!
Yesterday we concluded our second full week of CrossFit and believe it or not we are both making significant strides. For starters we’re still alive! Everyone, including all of the young what the hell are you doing here with that amazing body guys and girls are very supportive of our endeavours. They encourage us, answer our questions and cheer us on one WOD (work-out of the day) at a time. It’s really nice having your own personal cheerleaders … a girl could get use to this love.
We are running, the actual verb form of running too, not the “I’m running to the store” adjective kind. We are also jumping rope. Do you have any idea what happens when middle-aged women run & jump rope? They begin to laugh out loud at the prospect of wearing a diaper and they actually start to justify it! Hey, Lisa Rinna wore one on the Red Carpet, she says so in the commercial!
We are lifting weights, dangling from gigantic rubber bands, contorting our bodies into positions we didn’t know were possible, but most of all we are having a great time….a very sore time, but a great time. No pain, no gain … right?
As of this morning I am 20.2 pounds lighter. Um, yes, she did include that .2. I am healthier, happier and more determined than ever to continue on this path of Non-Hideous aging. I think I feel a bumper sticker coming on…perhaps a t-shirt.
Honestly though, the best part of this whole journey has been spending time with my dear friend. We make each other laugh through our inadequacies while we celebrate our personal milestones, which to date include running without stopping and staying alive. Enjoy the Ride!
The other day I had the pleasure of reading a beautiful post titled mister by Lynne over at FreePennyPress. It is an enlightening introduction into humanity, something that most of us try to ignore too often, especially when it’s up close and personal and not so pleasant.
Lynne or “Pretty Lady” as she was dubbed by “Mister” had a unique relationship with a homeless man. She noticed the presence of a broken man and he held the door for her. Nothing too complex to their relationship, just two human beings appreciating the fact that they both exist in this world. Isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway?
Living in a big city and working in the center of it for many years, I’ve had my share of encounters with people who have become broken for one reason or another. No one plans to take a path that brings them lower, sometimes life makes those decisions for us.
As adults we have a much more jaded view of the broken. It’s usually surrounded by judgement, followed by all the answers on how these broken souls can “get a job”, but most of the time we just ignore their existence. It’s just easier to pretend it’s not happening.
Norman is a character to say the least. Everyone knows Norman or as he is often referred …”that guy in the Viking Hat”. Look at that face…Norman is the bomb!
My son was immediately intrigued by Norman and his badass helmet, not to mention the fact that he would also sport a wall clock around his neck like Flavor Flav. Seriously, what little boy wouldn’t be in complete awe of that get-up? That joy soon turned to sadness, when I broke the news that Norman was homeless. This was his first experience with homelessness…up close and personal.
On Christmas Eve he wanted to give Norman money that he collected going door to door singing carols, so off we went. Sadly, Norman was nowhere to be found. We found out later he “goes away” during the cold months. Brilliant idea if you ask me. So, we went to other parts of the City to distribute the money until it was gone. Brokenness through a child’s eyes is so clear.
Later in the Spring as I was sitting out front of the music school, waiting for my daughter to finish her lesson. Up rolls Norman on a bicycle covered in red, white & blue everything. Flags covered the bike and he was wearing a flag pattered bandanna under his Viking helmet. He stopped to talk to me and offered me a swig from his bottle. Lord knows he already had one too many swigs. I kindly declined with an “um, no thanks I don’t drink” and Norman gave me a quick “that’s cool, if your a mother you shouldn’t be drinking” … good advice. Then he proceeded to tell me about a young woman he knew who drank too much and lost her children. His heart just broke for this woman, but he had faith that she would turn herself around. Helpless and helping others…does it get any better?
We chit chatted for a bit before my daughter came out and saw me talking to Norman. The look on her face was priceless! Norman wobbled off into the sunset shouting back “have a happy Mothers Day whenever it is” … will do Norman, will do. My daughter was rolling her eyes as she expressed “Mom! OMG, do you have to talk to everyone? .. yerp I do. Seriously, as if she didn’t already know.
I haven’t seen Norman in a while, but was so happy to find this photo over at http://thirstyfish.com/index.php?p=481 that was taken in January of this year. Looks like Norman is doing well these days sporting his shiny new Viking Helmet. Everyone knows Norman!
The backstory is that Norman was a very successful business man at one time. He was in the entertainment business, which didn’t surprise me in the least. Apparently he went through a very bitter divorce that left him broken, bitter or maybe both. But, I’ll be the first to tell you this man’s spirit was not included in that break. He is a very kind soul with a big heart and an even bigger smile!
Everyone…including the broken, should have the opportunity to…Enjoy the Ride!