Yesterday, the two unicorns flanking me ran about 20 hours on treadmills to raise funds for a veterans’ charity. Today, the three of us volunteered at another Move-It Fitness event. Last time Val and I volunteered together, in unicorn onesies, we ended up carrying two little kids. At the start of this race, she turned to me and said she wasn’t carrying any fucking kids.
The course is a 1.5 mile trail loop, and less than an hour into the race, I asked the director if she minded if I walked a loop, just to get out and enjoy the trail. I stopped and cheered for people, and I even ran a few yards, just to enjoy the day. I was standing in a particularly pretty sunny spot, cheering on folks when a bunch of people told me someone had fallen about a quarter mile into the trail, and it was bad. I started walking back, not expecting much. People fall constantly, especially at trail runs, and they usually just bruise their pride. Then a few more people said it, and I called the race director and started walking faster. Then a friend told me it was Val’s husband, and I started running.
Unfortunately, Ryan shattered his ankle, and is now due for surgery. I could tell that things were really bad, and another participant and I tended to him, and determined he needed to start exiting the trail. I told him we could basket carry him, but he insisted on hobbling on his good leg, not realizing that it’s been my dream to basket carry someone off of a trail since I was in Girl Scouts and got my first aid badge. But, we helped him peg leg to the eventual park service 4×4, and got him situated. I very carefully cupped the butt cheek at the top of his non-injured limb, to help ease him into the seat.
Basically, Val jinxed him. By saying she wasn’t going to carry anyone, she was guaranteeing the necessity of someone being carried. Sadly, it was her husband, and I got to do it. I told her we couldn’t be unicorns anymore, because people saw them and just wanted a fucking ride.
The day went great for anyone who wasn’t Val or Ryan, with a lot of people hitting distance PRs in the races, happy participants doing shots of Fireball, and my old coworker who is training for a marathon having his first run on trails! I got to see so many friends, give so many high fives, and meet new people and talk about my advocacy for First Descents. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, I worked hard, I helped, and I met new dogs. The young cancer community and the running community are the two places where I feel the most useful, the most enriched, and the most loved.