About a week before the Abundance sponsored Earth Day 5 kilometer foot race, a close friend asked if she could push me in my wheelchair during the event. Having been a runner all of my life, it took a minute contemplation to agree to it; with my old body I could have placed in the top five of events like these. Now I was riding in a wheelchair, getting pushed by a woman that had not trained and did not want to run, but this is my new normal. Megan is a woman whom I trust with my life, so off we went. It was cold at 9:00 am, in the sun or out, and there was a 20 knot wind blowing down from the north. I get cold easy, so I was wrapped in blankets and had a heating pad in my lap. Let me just say that wheelchairs and blankets are not a good idea to mix, as the blankets droop down into the wheels, and rocks are never a good idea with small wheels. The first section was downhill, and we got a taste of how the small wheels would do going fast downhill; they wobbled and the chair became unstable. I tried to sit balanced as I could, but it did not help. Megan was being so careful with me not to hit any rocks in the road, and making sure that I was warm enough. We did alright, I should say that Megan kept up a good pace, we were midway into the baby strollers with much larger wheels.
One mile, two miles, and finally we turned away from that cold wind; then came the big downhill; my chair was dragging Megan along. The chair was vibrating substantially, which causes blankets to come undone. And I could say that I had a brief premonition just before this happened, as the blanket got caught under the left front wheel of the chair; the chair, which I was strapped into (don’t ask me how I thought that was a good idea). The chair skidded briefly and then flipped ass over teakettle and took me with it, since Megan was holding on to the handles, she fell on top of me, also. It was exhilarating, the most excitement I have had in many months. People running in the race came asking if we needed help. Megan was beside herself asking me over and over if I was hurt, but I was laughing so hard that I was drooling. We flipped the wheelchair back upright, hugged, and after checking our hands and fingers and elbows, and determining that we were ok, we got back in the race and finished up. The winner of the men’s and women’s races came out to meet us and escorted across the finish line. A few minutes later, we were called up to the podium to collect medals, I for being the only handicapped person in the race, I suppose; and Megan for having the “best excuse not to run in the 5k.” I felt so well taken care of…fall and all!