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Jan and I have been friends since 1979 when we worked together in Atlanta, a bond forged through joy and travail, supporting each other as life threw it's softballs our way. Even though I moved to North Carolina in 1988, our friendship has survived, taking up where we left off each time we get together.

A few of months ago Jan signed me up for a 5K Atlanta Track Club Women's Event, an event she's been attending for a number of years.  Back when she and Scott (her husband of 24 years) got together, Jan started attending running events like the Peachtree Road Race, so this was all old hat to her.  Me?  Not so much. I'm your basic couch potato with visions of fitness that tend to remain visions instead of reality. But I said yes to the 5K event and started to walk at one of the local river parks to get into shape.

So I walked, wondering how far I was walking along this track, making at first two times around and then three.  There was a time in January when I strained my ankle and stopped for a couple of weeks, and then in February when I caught a cold.  But I went back to walking and knew that like the Nike commercial said, I needed to "just do it." As I walked, I remembered the story that Jan told me about one race she had been to that, after leaving, she saw a fundraiser auction nearby.  She stopped and bid on a guitar, which she brought home with her. Scott still comments, "She left for a race, and came home with a guitar," shaking his head as he says this.

I'd made it to walking four times around the track without total exhaustion when it became time to  attend the event late in March. My goal?  Simply to finish the route.

Even thought the 5K didn't start until 8:00, we left the house at 5:45 in the morning so we'd be able to get into the free parking lot, otherwise it was a $20 fee - yikes! It was a brisk morning, in the 30's, and I was dressed in a sweater, hat, cowl, scarf and gloves. (I AM from North Carolina - I know how to do 30 degree weather!) This event being a woman's event, we were given pink tutus to wear, and we wore them proudly! When it came our time to start (we went in waves as there were almost 2000 people there), Jan took off running while I walked, mp3 player giving me the beat in my ears. I was impressed with how compassionate the volunteers and police were around the route. They offered encouragement as we huffed up the hills and smiles as they indicated where to turn. After Jan finished her run, she came back to me and walked with me as I finished the route. And I did. Finish, that is.  I found out later there were even five people behind me. Based on the time it took me, I figure that the laps I'd done in preparation equaled about a half mile each, so I was already up to a two mile stretch. At the end of the race I was given a medal (Jan already had hers) and we got a "recovery box" with crackers, cheese, and a water bottle.  They even gave us a necklace with a pendant made from recycled glass.  I was happy, a little tired, and on top of the world.  And it was only 9:15!

On our way back we stopped at an estate sale - it was Saturday, after all!  On the porch were two rocking chairs.  Jan had been wanting a rocking chair for her front porch.  She asked, "Do you think this rocker will fit into my trunk?"  I looked at the chair, thought about her Toyota Corolla, shook my head, and said, "I don't know, Jan..."  She repeated, "Renee. Do you think this rocker will fit into my trunk?" "Yes," I said,  "yes I think it will!" (I'll get the answer right eventually!) We got a few more items, checked on the chair - it was half off by that point, so she got it for $20 - and carried our loot back to the car.  We put her back seats down, and started to load the chair.  We tried it from the right hand side, the left hand side, right side up, upside down, from the back. No way to get it in the car unless we had it hanging out of the trunk with the lid tied down.  So that's what we decided to do. But we had no rope or bungee cords.  So we used a set of ear buds.  Jan settled the chair in the trunk, anchoring it with other items there so it would not easily fall out, and we made our way back south on I-75 through the bumper-to-bumper Saturday morning traffic with no accident.

We were meeting the husbands at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and after we sat down, Jan turned to Scott and said, "Well, Scott - it isn't a guitar..." and smiled.


 


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    Renee has been around the block a few times and has some opinions on how we interact with each other. She's bringing over the blog posts from My Peace of the Earth, and will be adding more.

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