Shame on you if for even one moment you thought mental institution.
Yesterday, I put my money where my mouth is and registered for a local 5k event, the CVS Downtown Providence run, which attracts about 4000 participants each year. I was one of those participants in Sept. 2006. I remember getting misty-eyed during the pre-start speechifying. Not quite six months earlier, I'd been diagnosed with leukemia, and I'd spent four months in treatment. I'd lost at least ten pounds, most of it muscle. This was my chance to defy just about everything, including gravity.
I completed the race in non-record time, but I ran the entire 5k and finished somewhere in the middle of the pack. Since the race is sponsored by a local pharmacy chain, each participant received a bag of drugs (strictly OTC) along with their commemorative t-shirt. First aid items, protein bars and pain relievers, all useful to runners, were mixed in with tootbrushes, anti-diarrhea tablets and hand sanitizers.
Last year, I was unable to run in the race because I'd had a transplant two weeks earlier. Believe me, if I could have escaped for the day, I would have attempted to at least walk the course, just for the hand sanitizer. I vowed to run it in 2008.
It's 2008 and the race is just five weeks away. My goal is to beat my 2006 time, 30:28, and I'm shooting for sub-30 minutes. I will try to maintain my composure as I stand in the corral waiting for the race to begin. That won't be easy.