This weekend, I surrounded myself with healthy people. And as I looked around the crowds, the division between those in shape and those who wish they could be in shape was striking.
Friday and Saturday was spent in Warwick, RI, at a high school cross country invitational. (My son, Tim, is the Fairfield Warde cross country coach; my husband, Jack, the assistant coach. How's that for role reversal?)
The kids were terrific. They also all made me really feel my age. My poor daughter-in-law, Kim, spent all day Saturday having to humor me, as I pointed out yet another unusual body maneuver a fit high school runner had just performed. For example, there was the boy who, with his two feet planted firmly on the ground, managed to jump at least five feet into the air with absolutely no effort. Or the girl who swung her leg, straight up, until it was parallel to her ear. Truth be told, the kids ran further just warming up and cooling down than I have probably ever ran at one time in my life. Running has never been my thing.
Sunday, Tim, Kim, Jack and I were back at a race, this time the Bigelow Tea Challenge in Fairfield. Again, I was surrounded by fit people, and although I certainly do not have the body of a runner, I finished the race. Since Jack and I are not runners, but we do walk a 5-mile distance regularly, we decided to walk the 5K instead of the 2-mile walk. Throughout the race we followed an adorable 5-year-old boy who was running -- and yes he ran the whole race -- with his mom.
So when we crossed the finish line -- almost dead last -- all eyes were on the little guy and not Jack and me. That was my plan, and it worked seamlessly until the announcer -- after congratulating the boy -- had a special call-out to Jack, the assistant coach of Warde.
A few years ago I would have been mortified. First for crossing the finish line so late, and second, wondering what people would be saying about me. I really don't care anymore. I do what I can do, at my own pace, and if anyone wants to make fun of me, that's their problem not mine.
As the person who checked me in at the race said, after saying my age in a very loud voice: "At least you're not dead."
I'll second that.