Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Team Gab Virtual Race

This weekend Dennis and I went down to Arizona to visit my dad and stepmom, after I was unable to go over New Year's. This was an opportunity for us both to visit. Our friend Morgan graciously took care of the girls this weekend while we were gone.

This weekend I ran in the Retro Run 5K, an 80's-themed race in Kiwanis Park in Tempe. But the real reason I ran was not to dress up like Flashdance or to run a blazing fast 5K, (which would have been a nice bonus).

I ran this race primarily to support Team Gab. Gabby Gonzalez is the 5 year old daughter of my fellow blogger Heather Rusch Gonzalez at 365 Days of Awesome. Gabby has ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and was diagnosed a year ago. Since then she has endured treatment and has toughed it out with a spirit that most adults couldn't muster.

When Heather announced the Team Gab Virtual Race on her website, I wanted to find something I could do in that timeframe.

Since it's in honor of Gabby, I was going to go all out and live it up, dress like an 80's workout chick, and run as hard as I could.

There wasn't much question about what a Colorado ultrarunner was doing running a 5K in Tempe, Arizona. The day we left, the yard looked like this.

We arrived at Kiwanis Park early enough to figure out how to get to the parking area- we drove around the neighborhood like a couple of clueless snowbirds. We've only been gone from the valley a little over 5 years but I can't remember my way around. But in Phoenix, we fit right in. No oxygen tank or Depends, yet,though Dennis is a card carrying member of AARP. I had pre-registered, but Dennis made a last minute decision to run the race and had to sign up.

Timing chip on top of leg warmers? Not very retro.

The t-shirt was retro- remember these old cotton things?

Yes I looked like a dork but I didn't care. I was in good company.

Dennis was all business, no costume, not very retro. What was he up to?

I had to warm up, and I was afraid to run very far away from the staging area because of my dorky outfit. We ran down the canal for about a mile, but then I stuck to the parking lot.

We all lined up for the race, the gun went off, and that was it. There were a few hundred people in the races, a 5K and a 10K. The course was not easy, there were some long stretches crossing grassy areas of the park, and a lot of sharp curves on the bike path and sidewalks. We had to negotiate the slower 10K runners, who started 5 minutes ahead of us. Whatever. Lots of ups and downs with underpasses on the bike path too. It was a challenging course. I was so pleased that my ankle didn't bother me one bit on the grass sections.

I was following metallic chick the last 2 miles. Once I caught up to her, I wanted to pass her toward the end but there was this little kid who kept getting under my feet and I didn't want to elbow him out of the way on the narrow sidewalk. Since I was running to support a child, I didn't think it would be a good idea to trip a kid and knock him off the sidewalk. I was feeling decidedly non-violent. Metallic chick finished 3 seconds ahead of me. But, come to find out, she's 20 years younger than me. So then I didn't feel so bad. She was born in the 80s!

I found Dennis shortly after I finished, he had gone to the car to get the camera. He won the race overall! 19:04. Not bad for an AARP member! In my relative youth, I won the women's masters. I was the 5th overall woman to finish, my time was 22:43. It was faster than the race I ran a month ago, and given the terrain, I felt like it was a decent time. I'm making a little progress, and that's all I need to see to keep me going.

After the race we wandered around, Dennis got a chair massage, and we talked with people.

The Breakfast Club was there too.

In my opinion, this well-costumed couple ruined the overall effect with their not-so-retro minimalist shoes...and since I am such a fashion diva myself I have the right to judge...

Dennis picked up his overall award.

I got my age group award. It's been a while since I placed in a non-ultra event...It felt more special because it was for Team Gab, and I know there are lots of people out there running virtual races in her honor this month and next. Team Gab is symbolic to me, it's about supporting Gabby and her entire family. Mom and Dad, and her siblings, who put so much time and energy and have made so many sacrifices to keep Gabby on track with treatment, and keeping her life as normal as possible, even though it's far from normal.

Heather's (Gabby's mom) amazing optimism and energy jumps off of every one of her blog pages. Her creativity and her ability to find the fun in a bad situation is a gem for this family, and anyone else who reads her words. Check out her blog. It could break your heart to see what this family has been through, but when you read Heather's words, it's truly uplifting.

(In case you can't read it, the little blue card I'm holding says, "For you, Gabby!")

Back at the ranch...

My dad hams it up for the camera. Then he decided to cook lunch for us. He is an awesome cook. My friend Stephanie still talks about the meal he cooked us after Across the Years in 2008.

After lunch we all wandered over to the pool, my dad, my stepmom Ronna, Dennis and me. It was 75 degrees and sunny, perfect poolside napping weather. The early spring flowers were blooming.

That night we went out for Thai food and then went home and watched The Help. What a great movie. The next morning, we met my sister-in-law Becky, and my niece Jenny, who is 14 going on 21, for breakfast. Jenny is torn between going into acting and going to medical school. I wouldn't be surprised if she figures out a way to do both.

Sunday afternoon we flew back home. It was a short visit, but lots of fun. The Buffaloes were thrilled to see us, we were in big trouble with them.

What a great little escape from the Colorado winter in January. Here's to you, Gabby!


HappyTrails said... 80's flashbacks. Big time. Hooray for Gabby! I think you Coloradoans had an advantage with your extra high altitude manufactured red blood cells. Good job on the race! 75 degrees and roses in bloom??? I LIKE it!!! :-)

Alene Gone Bad said...

I like the colors and flowers in Scottsdale in the middle of winter, because, OMG, like, I'm a Valley Girl! Totally!

Nicole said...

What fun! A retro race! Way to go!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Nicole! Go Team Gab!