Many levels of recovery and healing

This week marked a year since the tornado devastated the city of Tuscaloosa and much of the state of Alabama. There were several memorial services and memories of those who were lost.  The heroes who assisted were also remembered. Thousands of people helped to clean up, provide supplies, and help in anyway possible. People are still coming to help and we will need assistance for the foreseeable future.

Mayor’s Cup 5k

Saturday came as a relief. The day was full of events that felt like a celebration of everything that is good about Tuscaloosa and why it is a great place to live. The day began with the Mayor’s Cup 5k starting in Government Plaza.  There were 1,034 runners and walkers, a record number, who ran through the city streets. This was my first 5k since my  since my hamstring tear last August and Achilles tendon surgery in November. I was not sure if I would be able to do it so I had not registered early.  On Friday Sam and I talked about it and I decided that I would try.  I began really running again about two weeks ago.  This week I managed three miles running and walking so I knew that I could do a 5k running and walking.  I managed more running than walking the first mile and had a 13:11 mile, which is not bad considering two weeks ago my mile time was around 18 minutes. The second and third miles were slower but I slowed down a couple of times to encourage some children.  This run raises money for the pre-k initiative so there are lots of children, teachers, and parents running together. I really love seeing that and being part of an event like this that encourages children to do something healthy.  For quite a while I ran and walked with a boy who looked like he was around 10-12.   He kept looking at me and saying, “I’m going to run” but when he did I could tell that it was not easy.  Still, he would run a block or two and then walk.  We kind of alternated back and forth – he was running when I was walking a bit and I was running when he was walking.  I wasn’t really trying to remain with him but it worked out that I did for most of the second and third mile. There was also a fantastic little kindergartener who I was running near for quite a while.  She was with her teacher.  She would race off like 5 year old’s run and then walk a little ways before she would start again. It was great fun to watch her.

I finished the 5k running.  My friends Cathy and Katherine were waiting near the end and ran in with me. Sam was at the final corner and joined us as well and so did Jerry.  I feel very fortunate to have so much support.  My final time for the day was 43:23.  I was hoping for under 50 for my first 5k so I made it with plenty of time to spare.  I could have been a minute or two faster if I had not slowed down with the children but that was worth it to me.

I didn’t get a photo until the end of  he race so I look rather disgusting, but here I am.

After the Mayor's Cup 5k

There were Dragon Boat races on the Black Warrior River in the morning as well but I did not make it to see them.  The next thing on my agenda was to ride with Bo Jackson in the afternoon.

Ride with Bo

Bo Jackson spent the week riding through Alabama to raise money for tornado relief. The 300 mile trip ended in Tuscaloosa on Saturday afternoon. A number of my friends and fellow DCBC members rode with him on one day or more.  They all had stories to tell about stopping in the towns along the way that are also still recovering and about riding with Bo, Lance Armstrong, Picaboo Street, Ken Griffey, Jr. and others.

The ride on Saturday was from Bessemer to Tuscaloosa, ending at Coleman Coliseum on the UA campus where a community ride started to ride the final four miles to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. It was 86 degrees Saturday afternoon but several people turned out to complete the ride. The group came in around 3:00, as scheduled.  Bo Jackson spoke to the crowd and then we went on our way.

The ride left Coleman Coliseum, went down Hackberry through campus, and onto Jack Warner to the Amphitheater. There was a small group waiting and cheering as the group rode in.  I stayed for a while but not for the whole event.

Mental prep

Getting to yesterday took as much, or maybe more, mental preparation as it did physical preparation and healing. Earlier this week I listened to a webinar by Dave Scott and David Glover on the subject of mental preparation for races and triathlons.  They talked about setting goals for the season and for races and about how to keep going when the unexpected happens. Dave Scott said, “Do what you can do in the moment.”  Really, that is all you can do when something happens that you do not expect. I didn’t expect a hamstring tear last summer or a tear to my Achilles in September. I have had to keep going though.  I have had a great deal of support to help me and I could not have gotten this far without it. There are still some lingering fears. Scott and Glover also talked about facing fears. On Friday Sam put me through a particularly difficult workout but he knows me well enough to know what I can handle. There were burpees though and they still cause me to pause. We talked about the fear I have of landing on my left foot.  I know it is  actually now much stronger than my right foot but I am still fearful. It is something I need to overcome and I will. One of the other fears I need to overcome is speed on my road bike.  I just have to get back out on the bike again and get used to it. I have been riding my hybrid but went this weekend out to get the feel of the road bike again.  I also need to get my pedals changed so I can get used to my bike shoes again.  All of this will come in time.

Next events

My next event is the Tour de Cure on May 12.  This is a ride, not a race, to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.  I have raised over $1200.00.  I would like to make it to $1500 before the Tour but we’ll see if that happens. The next triathlon is Buster Britton on June 9th, a repeat from last year. My goal for this season remains finishing the races.  Hopefully I will also improve along the way.

Millie waiting to bike with Bo

Cathy getting ready to bike with Bo

About millie jackson

I am a librarian, a yoga teacher, a storyteller, an athlete.
This entry was posted in 5k, Achilles Tendon, bikes, challenges, injury, mental toughness, races, recovery, running, Sam, Tornado, Tuscaloosa and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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