Monday, December 2, 2013

GER vs. Gobble Gobble Gobble

Ok, time to update after a long lapse.  I probably should have named this blog "Barbara's Non-Ethiopian fundraising running adventure".  Self Help Africa decided at the last minute to cancel our group trip to run in the Great Ethiopian Run.  In some ways I'm glad they made the decision for me.  If after all the discussions about terrorist threats they had decided to go, I would have had to decide whether I was still comfortable with the risk, and would have been uncomfortable with either decision I could have made.  When SHA decided to pull out of the run, they did offer us runners an alternate trip to a project site that they have in Malawi.  I opted instead to negotiate to be able to accompany them on a routine project trip they make to Ethiopia later this year.  Malawi would have been interesting. Ethiopia is where my heart is.  And a much smaller group trip will in many ways be more rewarding.

As the cancellation of the Great Ethiopian Run was becoming clear, I ran into a neighbor on my way back from dinner out.  He works for the Somerville Police and was in the news recently for receiving a check from Lyndell's Bakery for the Sean Collier Scholarship Fund.  (For those not in the know, Sean was the MIT Police officer killed in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings.)  He mentioned that the Thanksgiving Day Somerville road race was also going to contribute some of their proceeds to this scholarship fund.  Ahh, how everything in my life is connected...

So last Thursday morning, while most were either sleeping in or preparing feasts, I ran a 4-miler through the streets of Somerville in frigid cold temperatures, alongside lots of people dressed as turkeys. Roughly 3,000 runners.  I came in 662nd, doing miles averaging 8:24 each.  As I crossed the finish line and became fascinated with a man dressed in nothing but a full Native American headdress and loin cloth, my friend Oliver tapped me on the shoulder in congratulations and I felt good.

While waiting for the race to start, I noticed a familiar face in the crowd.  Kaleen had been my son Marcus' teacher in his combined 3-4 classroom.  Back then I remember her mentioning running in a race on Thanksgiving.  She's been doing these races every year since except last year when she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  It was a wonderful, bittersweet reconnection.  So today I signed up for my next run - a 5K on January 4 in Lexington to raise money for cancer research.

Let the training resume!