For the past couple of years both my son and daughter have participated in a run to raise money for neuroscience – mental health and brain injury research – at the University of Alberta, in honor of their dad. I had tossed around the idea of joining the 5K walk event this year, but I wasn’t sure I could do it, with my achy feet, bunions, blisters, fallen arches … you get the picture!
I’m not a runner, nor do I ever aspire to be, but I have been walking regularly for a few months now and it has become a really good habit. Sure, there are days I wake up and think it would be nice to skip out and just stay in my pajamas with a cup of coffee, but I am quickly reminded of the way I feel while I’m walking and once I get home, so I get up and go and I’m never sorry I did.
The only event I’ve ever done that involved a lot of physical energy was a walkathon in my youth. I think it was about 21 miles, but I’m not positive anymore and I haven’t actually thought about it for so long, until just now! I don’t remember which fundraiser it was but I do remember being exhausted, hot and thirsty.
I recently returned from a trip with my daughter to Disneyland, where she ran a half marathon. She had prepared for this event for over a year, and I believe it was everything she hoped it would be. I was part of the chEAR squad (yes, it’s really a thing!) so I got to sit in a special place near the finish line and watch all the action – and they really do provide a lot of action! It was so entertaining, and my daughter said there were things all along the route to entertain them and make it all fun.
When we got home from Disneyland I was inspired to do something, so I decided to jump in and register for the N.E.R.D. run event with my kids and another family who has been affected by brain injury, and I will be walking on Saturday. As long as it isn’t too hot (my daily walks are at sunrise!) I know I’ll be OK and even though it’s not that long, and even though I’m not running, it will be an accomplishment for me, and I have my kids to thank for that inspiration.
I started walking because I wanted to be mobile and hold onto my mobility as long as I can moving forward. But now I’m experiencing the other benefits as well and I’m hoping that even once it snows I’ll be able to get out there with some cleats and hopefully I won’t fall flat on my butt.
In the meantime, it’s never too late to take a leap, so I’m walking the 5K Saturday for brain injury and mental health. I’m going to get a bib, an actual medal, and a cool t-shirt.
I’m walking for my husband. And I’m walking for me.