November 21, 2010

Braving the elements

OK, I wimped out a bit. It was rainy and windy on Saturday, and I didn't run.

I haven't really had to run in the rain since I moved to San Diego this year, and I have to admit it gave me pause when I woke up to rain and bending trees. Back in Seattle, rain was just a fact of life, and if you didn't run in the rain, didn't run. At most, I would check the weather radar to see if there would be a lull sometime in the next hour. I haven't even bothered to check the weather report for the last few months because outside of the daily high temperature, not much changes.

But I didn't suck it up and go for a run on Saturday. About my only excuse was that my hat and windbreaker were back at the house. It was mostly the wind that I was worried about. Getting wet was not that big of a deal, but once I was soaked, the wind would make it pretty cold. But I still felt pretty lame.

Sunday morning was calm, so I headed out first thing. I went down to Mission Bay Park, and as soon as I pulled in, it was clear there was something big going on. I saw a decorated 15 passenger van, and I flashed back to our Ragnar Relay. But the people were walking and not running, and there was a whole lot of pink going on. It was soon clear that it was the Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk to benefit breast cancer research.

The event is a 60 mile walk over three days to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer. I assumed that this was day three, but didn't know much beyond that. There were tons of women (and a few men) walking along the path, decorated with pink ribbons, buttons and pictures of friends. As I stretched out for my 10 mile run, I realized that they had been walking in the weather on Saturday that made me chicken out. It was confirmed - I was a wimp.

I ran along the path dodging in and out of the walkers and saw many clever outfits and team names. Names like "Hakuna ma Ta-Ta's" and slogans like "Fighting to save second base". There were several supporters handing out food, candy, beads or just cheering the fundraisers on. It wasn't long before it started to rain once again, and the wind picked up as well. It wasn't blowing as hard as Saturday, but it was still a little cutting. Volunteers then started handing out rain ponchos, and the walkers pressed on, ponchos flapping in the wind like flags.

It was inspiring to see all these people of varying ages not only walking these long distances, but braving the elements they probably weren't expecting for a San Diego event. I also have to give high props to the supporters standing in the rain to cheer them on. It is one thing to be participating and moving through the rain, and quite another to be standing still to make sure the participants are as comfortable as possible. A couple of them cheered me on for no other reason than that is what they do.

When I turned around, I was now running against the tide and could see the faces of the people doing the walk. The faces I saw did not seem any different from the people I might see on any random morning. It appeared to be a pretty typical slice of the population. But these people were clearly a little different, willing to take on a significant challenge to honor friends and family who have fought the battle of cancer. To put their comfort second to raise money to fight the good fight.

No wimps here.