Quinn and I participated in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides 5K walk in Tempe on Saturday morning. My little - and I use the word "little" only because he's young - snuggle monkey insisted on being carried for the first half of the walk. Every time I tried to put him in his stroller, he'd arch his back like it was filled with snakes, or worse - broccoli. When I tried letting him walk beside me, knowing it would slow my pace but thinking it would at least give my upper body a break, he'd sit down in the middle of the road. Chris and I call this his "riot police" move - his whole body goes limp like he's protesting the 1% and resisting arrest. I'd bend down to pick him up again, apologizing to the walkers who almost tripped over us as we broke their strides. All the carrying, wrestling, and bending to pick up my wiggle monster took its toll.
My chest and shoulder muscles were on fire, but I couldn't resist his cheek on my shoulder, even if we were making awful time, even if I was spoiling him rotten. And then my hat blew off in the wind, but I didn't even mind displaying my bald head to the world. I was hugging my little boy - and we were at a cancer walk, after all.
A few coworkers and friends joined us, including Quinn's best friend from daycare, Sydney. We had to pause often for snack breaks. No joke, I think we walked at about a one mile-per-hour pace.
As I was running down Mill Avenue with my bright green stroller and shoeless toddler, trying to catch up with my teammates before the start, a guy in a pink shirt asked me if I was okay. "Just running late," I said. "This'll probably be the most competitive part of my day."
I caught up with my team a couple of blocks up the road; we weren't late for the start, and it probably wouldn't have mattered much anyway, it was such a laid-back event. The guy in the pink shirt came up to me and handed me an extra t-shirt from his team. "Good luck to you," he said, a seriousness in his voice letting me know he wasn't just talking about the walk. This is the shirt he gave me; it was so perfect after the sprint of a morning I'd had...