My hubby’s office is a great supporter of the local Relay for Life. They always sponsor a team and do various fundraisers throughout the year. This year was no different. Last year, Bill was a very active member of the team. He helped organize most of the fundraisers (Family Movie Night, breakfast for the staff, raffles, etc.) and signed up for a turn to run at the actual relay. This year, he donated to the fundraisers but did not help to organize them. He still signed up for a turn to run at the relay, however, so I decided to tag along with him.
We arrived at the high school track at 7:30 Saturday morning, and quickly found the tent his team members had set up. No one was in the tent, so we decided to look around. A carnival atmosphere was evident. Food trucks were set up to feed hungry walkers and their supporters.
A fire company brought a fire engine and was giving rides on the bucket of their hook and ladder truck.
There were activities for children, including a bounce house and cardboard car races. There was a dress-up-like-a-movie-star competition.
A band played New Orleans style jazz on the stage. (They were awesome!)
Some members of Bill’s team brought ingredients to make pancakes and were in a tent serving breakfast for runners and walkers. Other team members were in the tent, eating breakfast. We looked at the yummy offerings and promised to come back after our run.
We started our turn under the big “Relay for Life” inflatable and began an easy jog. Each shift lasts an hour, so our goal was to run six miles. Most of the relay-ers are walkers, with only a few runners, and we wanted to be respectful of everyone on the track. This involved quite a bit of weaving around the track, but it was not a speed workout. Everyone on the track was friendly and supportive. Good music was playing, there were lots of distractions, and I was having a great time.
By 8:30, the sun was beating down, and it was starting to get a little toasty. I suggested to Bill we take a water break. There were bottles of ice water in tubs beside the track, so we slowed to a walk and grabbed one. Revived by the cold water, we stashed the bottle close to the track and set off again.
Maybe you are a person given to doing math in your head. I am not. I never realized until we were well into our hour that six miles would be 24 times around the track. Twenty four!!! I have done 24 laps around the track many times when I do speed work, but usually, my mind is turned off. I am concentrating on a certain pace or time and usually gasping for air. The laps go by without me counting them. When I was running 24 laps at a jog, I counted them.
One good thing about running while most people were walking was we got to people-watch as we rounded the track. One man was walking with his little boy, who looked about three years old, who wanted to run. The boy alternated between running full speed and riding on his daddy’s shoulders. What a wonderful way to encourage and support a child. Three young women, walking together, were feeling the music, and doing a half-walk, half-dance around the oval. They were having a great time!
There were a few other runners, including one young man who was running about two minutes per mile faster than we were with apparent ease. Bill told me that every time the young man passed us, he wanted to run faster, and I laughed.
We slowed one more time for water and debated about how many laps we had left. I thought we had two, but Bill said we would have six miles after only one more lap. Just then the fast young man passed us, and Bill looked wistfully after him. I said “OK. Let’s go!” and we took off. I didn’t want to pass the man. It wasn’t a competition, and that would be too weird, even for me. I just wanted to run his pace for a lap. We caught up to within about five yards of him and maintained his pace for our final lap. We finished laughing, sweaty, and out of breath, just the way every run should end.
Our pancake breakfast was waiting for us in the tent.
Relay for Life is the biggest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. “Relay is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated path. Each event is 6-24 hours in length and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. Cancer patients don’t stop because they’re tired, and for one night, neither do we. Each team sets up a themed campsite at the event and continues their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games, and activities.“
I am joining Running on Happy, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner linkup! I am also linking up with Nicole and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday. I am linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for their Weekly Wrap. Join me there for some fabulous fitness blogs!