The Wisconsin Senior Olympic event that was scheduled for September 2, at the Zoo had to be canceled because of heat and humidity. My head knew this was a wise call but my heart sank. I wanted to do this power walk. “Well,” I said with resignation, “I can wait until next year.”
Then, last week Thursday I got a call asking if I could participate in a rescheduled event this past Saturday at the lakefront. Of course, I not only could but I would.
And I did!!!
The friend who introduced me to this adventure is a 5K runner. She walked with me. I was aware that her capacity far exceeds mine but she didn’t focus on that. If her goal was to make it fun for me then she won this event.
Because it was rescheduled it lacked some of the ceremony one would expect but we had a clear starting point, a starting signal, a prescribed route, a stopwatch and a finishing point. Out time for a 5K (more or less) power walk was 43 minutes and 52 seconds. This time was officially recorded and I was challenged to beat that record next year. I was given a T Shirt and a ribbon with a Wisconsin Olympic Medal.
It’s hard to describe why this activity is wrapped in excitement. Is it because I am chasing away some of the myths about aging and decreased mobility? Is it because doing this lets the kid in me come out and play? I don’t know but I can’t wait to sign up for next year.
I also am cherishing some memories from this walk that God is using to remind me that He is walking the path of my life with me. Let me describe how these memories were created. You will need to let your imagination help you frame this picture.
We had rounded a corner on the track and were walking an area with a beautiful lagoon on our right and Lake Drive on our left. I looked the part with my headphones blaring fast stepping music, my water bottle in my waist pack and my stopwatch around my neck. My whole focus was to finish this race and finish it fast. I was moving my feet, making sure my whole foot rolled onto the ground and my arms were pumping in rhythm. My breathing started to concern me but I knew I needed to ignore it.
Suddenly I felt hands on my shoulders. Their touch was so gentle that I didn’t startle or lose my stride. Then with firmness they guided me to the right side of the path. Before I knew why this was happening a biker blazed by us. Safe again, the hands were released from my shoulders. We walked on without comment. I am comforted now by remembering the gentleness and strength of these hands. I am glad my friend walked with me.
The second memory is created when we are nearing the finish line I begin to relax and I think I was planning to coast in. “Come on now,” my friend coaches. :Let’s put a little more energy into this. The finish line is in sight.” Finding strength from somewhere, I pushed harder. When we stepped over the finish line I felt that I had finished well.
I have a medal hanging on a hook with my T Shirt. Both will fade with time. I have memories of my friend who demonstrated a walk with Jesus. These will grow only brighter with time.
I hope you sign up for Senior Olympics. I hope you walk with someone. I hope Someone walks with you.