Today, my husband and I went on a little adventure together and drove into the city to participate in the NAMI GA Walk. We were the only two members of our team that were able to make it and we were very proud that our little group exceeded our goal of $1500 and raised over $2200 for the cause. For those who aren’t aware NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They help provide research and support for families and patients living with mental illness. So today, we spent our day supporting a cause close to our hearts.
We woke up early and headed into Atlanta…..you know to try to get ahead of the traffic. We parked in the only parking garage with access to Piedmont park, thinking that we were smart to get there as early as we did. We then had to wait another 2 hours before the walk actually started. We decided to head down the registration area early to check out the happenings. It was as we were walking that we came to a realization. We probably didn’t have to get up early because very few southerners were going to be heading to the park in this freaking COLD!!!! Yes, I said it. This New England girl was cold. We have lived here for 2 years and it was the first time I have felt cold since moving here. It was about 45°, tolerable for me…but the wind was horrible. I was in layers, but I still had to cuddle up to my husband to get any relief from the wind. Luckily, he is 6′ to my 5’2″, so he acts as a wonderful wall.
To escape from the wind, we walked back to the car and hid out for a while. I joked that we could simply head home, having already handed in our donations. Later, my husband told me, he would have been on board with that, had I been serious. Contrary to my inclination to be warm, we headed back down to the starting line and walked a 5k with more than 200 other walkers.
My knees have been a problem for me since college. I was training to be a ballroom dance instructor, twisted something and I have never been quite the same since. Follow that by performing barefoot on gym floors with a competitive winter guard….it didn’t help me any. So, by mile 1 my knee felt like it was going to explode. I knew if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to start again, so I kept going. My husband kept taking pictures to bring back to our support group….but I kept walking ahead and he would have to catch up with me. We passed the 2 mile mark…..I only slowed down slightly to grab a bottle of water. In my head, I kept saying “keep going, keep going, don’t stop, don’t think”. We finally neared a small lake, we could hear music from the other side…..it was the starting point. We were getting closer. Mile 3 I told my husband that we would have to finish and immediately walk back to the car without stopping. The finish line was in sight. We decided to take a selfie at the finish line. Dumb move. Slowing down to take that horribly wind-blown picture, seized up my leg. I ended up hobbling back to the car, but I made it. I did nearly 5 miles in one day, between the 5k and the multiple walks up and down to the parking garage. That is more than I have done in a day in almost 10 years.
I came home, sat in a hot tub (with a tall glass of chocolate milk), put on my fuzziest pjs and doused my knee in icy hot. I am achy and sore and exhausted….but proud. Proud that I accomplished this physical challenge (on my first truly cold southern day) and proud that I did for a cause I believe in.