Pow and wow.
Crash and dash.
Bruise and cruise.
That’s how I closed out 2019.
The pow ... crash ... bruise refer to the last Saturday of the year when I was mowed down on a sidewalk in Key West by an electric bike rider. I was standing there with daughter Catherine, waiting to cross busy North Roosevelt Boulevard, when the bike came speeding out of nowhere.
I would be the first person to vote for closing most of Key West’s streets to cars and only allowing bikes, motorcycles, golf carts and trolleys on the streets and only walkers, runners and roosters on the sidewalks.
That won’t happen, but one can dream.
If you go to Key West, beware the traffic on the sidewalks!
Traffic is daunting in the streets, as well.
Narrowly missing a concrete seawall, I fell onto the sidewalk. My only injury was a bruised right forearm. Needless to say, I am exceedingly grateful. My forearm — with its blue, green, yellow and purple tattooes — fit right in to the Key West look.
The dash ... cruise ... wow refer to the illuminated 5K I participated in two days later, on Dec. 30. Our son Paul who lives in Key West with my dad, told us about the 5K, and I signed up because (1) Paul urged me to (2) I found out “runners” could walk and run and (3) it was after sunset, in the relative cool of the evening. That made me think I probably would be OK. I would never attempt to run a 5K.
A last minute bonus: If for some reason I couldn’t finish, I could say I was recovering from a crash.
Another great factor: Our route was blocked off from the traffic. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I would not have another encounter with a speeding vehicle.
The course started in the Marriott Beachside parking lot, headed north along North Roosevelt Boulevard, continued left on College Road (yes, Key West has a community college) and then back to the Marriott.
The run was to begin at 6 p.m. We got there about an hour early, and I mentioned to Catherine and Diego that we had all this time to waste.
It’s not wasted time, Catherine said. You get psyched up. You want to know where the starting line is. Where the finish line is. Where the water and food are. You want to get your T-shirt, drink water, go to the bathroom, check out everyone, get warmed up ...
Diego added, “You should use this time to reflect on how hard you have been training.”
“Diego!” I said. “If I reflect upon how hard I’ve been training I’ll turn around and go home!”
My only training is my (too infrequent) brisk walks to work or the post office, around Bixler Lake or at the YMCA.
About 250 people signed up for the race but about 30 were no-shows or didn’t finish the race.
My goal was to finish and not be the very last person to do so. Timing chips were attached to the numbers we safety-pinned onto our shirts. In the sea of people, the exact time each person crossed the starting line would be recorded.
Also, the time we crossed the finish line would be recorded. I would no longer be in a sea of people.
Even before I crossed the starting line at a slow run, Catherine and Diego and Paul and Leith were far ahead of me.
I started off at a slow run and was surprised at my ability to continue that pace. There really is something special about the race day atmosphere and its effect on adrenaline.
The evening was warm and sticky with few stars. I carried my iPhone to use as a flashlight, but thanks to the illumination people wore — glowing or flashing hair ornaments, necklaces, bracelets, vests and rings — I didn’t need my iPhone flashlight ... if I didn’t get too far behind.
Various people passed me — including a lady and her short-legged dog with an illuminated leash and a man pushing a baby stroller. I kept up my slow run. Then I walked. Then I ran again. I was tired but not exhausted because I had the assurance of walking, when I needed to.
Because we were to make a loop, runners headed toward the finish line — including Diego, Paul, Catherine and Leith and just about everyone else — passed me as I continued plowing toward the halfway point.
Catherine and Diego, who, of course, finished way ahead of me, ran up to me when I was about a kilometer away from the end and ran with me the rest of the way. It was super encouraging.
It turned out that Diego came in second in his age group and sixth overall!
Everyone who finished the race got a medal.
How I ranked isn’t necessary for this story. The important thing is I showed up for the race and finished it.
And that is my resolution again this year: Show up.
Whatever positive thing you do, if you just show up you have done a good thing.
Don’t doubt. Don’t worry about the outcome. Show up and see what happens.