Monday, April 11, 2011

It Was a Dark and Gloomy Morning...

This past Saturday was cold and rainy. As usual, when that happens, weather was met with great rejoicing by the desert denizens. But that meant that Sunday dawned as you see above--gray, cold, and damp. And it was Race for the Cure day. Normally, it's warm on race day; some years, it's been so warm that people have fainted and had other weather-instigated health issues. Not this year. When I walked Mr. Big pre-race, I realized I'd need to bring my gloves this year. That's a first!

This year's race had special meaning for me, as one of my best friends from high school was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer. Race organizers encourage racers to put the names of people they are celebrating or remembering on their backs. Normally, I list the women on the block I grew up on who died of breast cancer back in the 1970s and 1980s, or L's sister G or M's mom, who have both survived. This year, I put a photo of M and me taken two years ago, when I was back in the home state, and the three amigas met for lunch. She's just finished her chemo and radiation, and her hair is growing back--yea!

J is a member of the Beat Cancer Boot Camp, and their organizer was the honorary chair of the race this year, so we had to be there, bright and early. Or rather, gray and early. Would it rain on race day?

Never fear! Just as people were starting to arrive, the sun broke through the clouds, the desert smelled gorgeous, and ten thousand people wearing pink--pink hats, pink boas, pink tutus, pink wigs, pink shirts, pink socks--started to line up to run and walk and raise money. This photo is actually of the chute into the finish line, but there were about 25 people walking together wearing bright pink wigs and hot pink feather boas--too bad I couldn't get over there fast enough to capture them

I love the air of festivity that surrounds this event. It's as if a collective humanity is saying "Cancer? Death? Not on my turf!" Babies wearing signs about their grandmas. Men wearing hot pink tutus and bras over their shorts and t-shirts. A young blond woman wearing a sign saying "I'm Racing for the Cure on my sweet sixteen!" Sorority sisters at the intersections, cheering us on, jumping up and down with pom-poms and hand written rhymes. Dads 'running' the fun 1-mile with their toddlers, who can barely walk, but they run across the finish line when they get to it. It's all very heartwarming and teary and inspiring.

Again, the Japanese drummers were there, pounding us on. This year, the university bagpipers were there, too, kilts and pipes and all. (Hooray! The latent Scottish genes in me perk up when I hear bagpipe music.) I didn't see the local Native American drummer and male dancers that have been there the past couple of years. I hope I just missed them, and that it doesn't mean the woman who walked with them, carrying burning incense, lost her battle with cancer.

The tower at the finish line (the banner is behind the mesquite tree branch). The emcee loves to call out to individuals or groups he sees from up there, making it very personal. You feel like you are racing with 10,000 of your closest friends. The Desert Voices chorus sang "We Shall Overcome" and the national anthem--and they were fantastic!

Random crowd photo.  Note people wearing sweaters, and volunteers wearing gloves. It was wonderfully chilly.

We were ideally positioned this year, so I had a personal best time for this, my twelfth Race for the Cure. Lots of room to reach my stride, and D and I left J and her friend in the dust. D's daughter and her friend took off, but we wound up outpacing them, too. Score one for the middle aged ladies.

Then off to a local French restaurant for a post-Race brunch that was delicious, if chilly as we sat on the patio. But so worth it. Everything bathed in butter.

PS: To lessen  the confusion, there are two different M's and two different J's referred to in this post. I have to get some friends with different initials.

1 comment:

  1. Patti.. a big cheer and sincere thank you goes out to you on your twelfth race. This is an awful disease that can hit anyone without warning ..not just those with a family history. It is one that will be cured with the help of people like you!