I have been blessed with two wonderful sons. They have had four children between them. We are lucky beyond belief. Everyone is healthy. Every single one. I can’t even imagine the pain suffered by parents who bury a child. My mother’s bravery after losing her eldest child and only son can only be labeled as heroic.

RET was fourteen when diagnosed with cancer. He was dead by age fifteen. His last wish was to give back. Even as he was dying, he wanted his family to help others who were in this same situation but without the resources available to them. The RET Foundation was the answer to this dying child’s wish.

This was the fifth WOD for RET. They hold a yearly 5K race and rather than just run, because you know – CrossFit – there is a WOD included. Each year, the event has gotten bigger. It is held in Hilton Head where RET’s family lives. Mama T – RET’s mom – is a member at my son’s box, Conviction Training Facility. She loves my son and has told me so every time she has met me. I wanted to help her son, too.

Yesterday, Dick and I left the house around 2.30 to travel to Hilton Head. We got ourselves signed in for our first ever 5K race. The deal was it was perfectly acceptable to simply walk it. I vacillated back and forth. I had to sign us up for something and so I had each of us listed as beginners. But we could just walk. I hate to run. I actually tested this and found out that I walk faster than I run because I don’t have to rest. I can just keep walking.

The beginner WOD wasn’t that much. At the start, there were 15 deadlifts – one for each year of RET’s too-short life. Then, after 1.5 miles, there would be a stop and 15 burpees. Just before the finish line would be another 15 deadlifts. The beginner female weight was only 53#. But it would be in the middle of my first ever 5K and I’m a weenie and what the heck was I thinking. I was allowed to just walk it. Why push it?

We stayed at Craig and Dayna’s last night and went out to eat and had a wonderful meal. I didn’t sleep well because of being in a different bed and having this unmade decision still playing through my head. I could just walk it. I didn’t have to do anything else. I could walk it or just do weenie plank burpees when I got that far.

I didn’t have to do anything at all, really. I could have just donated money to the Foundation. My alarm went off this morning and Craig and Dayna were already out of the house and getting set up at Hilton Head Island Preparatory School in Sea Pines, an exclusive part of the island.

The route was supposed to be beautiful. I could just enjoy a walk. We didn’t even have to walk fast, we could stroll if we wanted. There was nothing pushing us.

There were about 150 CrossFitters there and another 400 runners. When the starting gun went off, the runners started and the first CrossFit heat began their deadlifts and then each minute thereafter, the next heat of those doing the WODs would begin. Dick was in the first heat. I was in the second. I don’t know exactly when I decided to do the WOD, too. Maybe I had really decided when I signed up and I was just being scared. It is one of the things I do best.

Dick waited by my weight for the second round to start, I did my deadlifts, and off we went. The route was beautiful. It was also sand since the path was located on a dang island and all this beach stuff leaves lots of sand around. It was mostly through the pine trees, hence the name of the place – Sea Pines – and it was a glorious morning. It was hot and totally windless. Not a breeze at all. When we rounded a corner and saw a pond/lake/whatever, it was completely still – like glass. Gorgeous but hotter than hell to walk in.

For the scaled and RX versions of the WODs, there were higher weights for the deadlifts of course, but there was also more work along the course. Every 800 meters or half mile, there was a station set up. People were required, depending on their version, to do push-ups or burpees and then sometimes, for the scaled and beginner, the message on the sign simply said, “Keep running!”

As I approached the place where I would be doing burpees, I tried to strategize. My heart rate was in the low 160s for most of the walk. But 15 burpees would be tough in the pine straw scattered with pine cones and hiding possible fire ant hills. But the burpees themselves were my problem. I thought I could do them in 5-5-5 but that seemed like it would take more time and might not be necessary. I could maybe do 8-7 or I could do 8-4-3 if I had to or if I couldn’t squeak out eight first, I could do 7-4-4. All this planning kept me busy enough that I was astounded when I actually came upon the spot where I had to do the burpees, thinking it was going to be farther along.

I did them in 8-7 and just wanted to get them over. I had to sit and pant like a crazy person as I got my heart rate back down for the second half. I got my left knee into something but I don’t know if it was a pine cone or a fire ant. And, I did real all the way full range of motion burpees. I mean really, kids are dying of cancer and I’m whining about this shit. Grow a pair.

Dick waited for me to get through this and then we walked together again until the end. The path through the woods was wonderful, but at the end we had to make a loop in the parking lot to be able to get the real 3.2 miles in and we wouldn’t want to skimp. I was just too confused about the path and all I knew was that I needed to find the weights and do the last set of deadlifts. I had no idea where I was geographically as I can get lost backing out of the driveway. But I finally got steered in the right direction, thank you Dick, and got to the weights.

My hands were so filthy from playing in the dirt earlier. I was so sweaty from the exertion. I was a mess. I had trouble holding onto the weight and had to reset my hands after rep 11 or 12 but I got them done and we could then proceed to the finish line. We were done at 54.30. We were in before an hour.

I don’t know the last time I was this dirty. The sand was caked up the back of my legs and while I tried to wipe off some of the excess dirt from the burpees, my thighs and knees were filthy, too. I could pick the dirt off my boobs okay. We helped Craig and Dayna with cleanup stuff and then we took off for their house and showers. I don’t know when the last time I was this grateful for a shower, either.

As a bonus, we got to play with Frankie who had spent the night at her other grandparents’ house. She came back to play with us before it was time for us to head back home. We made it here in one piece and tonight, we should sleep the sleep of the just – or something.

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