Today I walked the Komen 5K in downtown Houston. My friend Jene’ has done this walk many times and asked me if I wanted to walk it with her this year. I decided, after my current struggles with Tamoxifen, that it might be a good idea to reinforce my resolve with this walk. I had to prove to myself I could do this short walk and hope to use it as a springboard into walking for more weight loss.
Jene’ very graciously picked me up this morning at 6:45. Anyone who knows me is aware that mornings are a struggle and my uncoordination is amplified by trying to do anything complicated before 9 AM. I have learned, however, I could get anywhere by 7 AM and function if I had a chauffeur.
Though I registered before the deadline, my registration packed did not arrive (and still hasn’t) so Jene’ let me out to go get my t-shirt and bib number (and hers) while she tried to park. After a half hour, we finally found each other again and started to walk toward the start line.
Jene’ had hoped to meet up with her friend Stacy from The Container Store. We walked toward the start line and still hadn’t found her. If you know Jene’, you know that she can walk into an ice cream store in South Carolina, strike up a conversation with a person and in no time, find that they either know mutual people or know each other. We call it Six Degrees of Jene’.
Find it no surprise, then, in the midst of nearly 40,000 people, Jene’ found Stacy.
The walk started late, and the sea of humanity moved slowly toward the start line. Because we were walking so slowly, I was able to get some shots of how people celebrated the race with costumes and t-shirts. Yes, the photographer carried her camera over three miles. I carry the camera every day and I hardly notice it. Besides, I wouldn’t have gotten shots like these with my phone’s camera.
This is the sea of humanity as we walked under the Montrose Bridge. It was an amazing sight to see all of these people walking for a cause, a mother, a sister, a grandmother, a friend.
This man held this sign up for nearly the duration of the race. I am going to assume it was his wife. I know many people walked for people they’ve lost and saw many “in memory” tags on people.
All along the route were organizations and volunteers cheering people as they walked. At one point there were several that were cheering directly to me, a survivor. I almost started crying but managed to not let my emotions get the best of me. I know I still haven’t fully wrapped my brain around what happened to me this summer. I think I’m still numb and still trying to decipher what getting and surviving breast cancer means to me personally. I know what breast cancer has meant to me when it has involved people I love in my life, but I am still not sure what to think or feel about walking this road myself.
After crossing the finish line, I walked through an area specifically for survivors. They said your number of years as a survivor over loud speakers. Five, seven, twenty years… and I said four months (because I am using my surgery date as the day the cancer left me). As I walked along the line of people cheering at me and giving me high-fives, I almost choked up again.
I was given a carnation and then, after emerging from that line of people, I picked up a couple of things from Ford (I love their Warriors in Pink collection).
The newspaper said there were 2000 registered survivors of the 38,000 + registrants (I expect that number to climb because so many people signed up at the last minute and there were people walking without bib numbers). Again, seeing so many people walk in memory of someone and realizing how few survivors were walking in relation to how many people were registered hit me harder than I thought it would. Like I said, it’s still something I have to wrap my brain around.
Jene’ and I went to the car at 11:20. The 5K took over an hour because it was difficult to get to Jene’ speed (petite woman with a cane will walk your legs off!) because of how many people were trying to walk in the same space with children, strollers, wagons and people stopping in the middle of the street to take photos.
Jene’ had to go to work all day at The Container Store after she dropped me off. Jene’ walks more than a 5K when she works. I imagine her legs are a lot more tired than mine! I am grateful for her persistence in getting me to do the Komen walk this year!