The Wednesday before the race, I twisted my ankle. I tried to stay off it as much as I could, but by Friday night, the swelling still hadn’t gone down. Kurt asked me what I wanted to do about the Tacky Light Run. We were already registered, and had our costumes ready to go.
I told him that I wanted to get some crutches and go do it.
I didn’t really think it through. I had no prior experience using crutches. I mean, there had been a few times when I’d picked up other people’s crutches and played around on them a little (when I was much younger, of course.) But I had no idea what it felt like to use them for any amount of time.
Kurt bought me some crutches at Walgreens. I also asked him to pick up some ribbon and lights so I could decorate the crutches to match my outfit. He’s a pretty good hubby.
When my mom and dad found out that I hurt my ankle and that Kurt and I would be walking instead of running, they decided to drive up and walk with us.
Packet pick-up was in a tent outside of American Family Fitness. Luckily, the fitness center allowed us to use their restrooms to change. What a nice gym! We each got a coupon for a free 7 day trial in our goodie bag. I would definitely take advantage of that if we lived in Richmond.
Also in our goodie bags were a jingle bell and a cool bracelet/flashlight combo. The light didn’t match my outfit, though, so I didn’t wear it. Not matching would have been tacky. We parked at the high school and took the shuttle to Mines Park.
The starting waves for the race were:
Gingerbread Men: Jog/Walkers
We lined up with the Snowmen. It was crowded, and once we started moving, I had to be very careful. A little girl tripped over one of my crutches. Her mother looked mortified, but I just felt bad for the girl. I wondered for the first time if doing the race on crutches was somehow selfish of me. I felt like I was in everybody’s way. I also knew that I’d be very slow on crutches, but I had no idea that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with even the slowest walkers! I’m sure it was frustrating for Kurt and my parents to have to creep along beside me.
We very quickly found ourselves pulling up the rear. By mile one, I was really hurting. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it to the finish.
Somebody from the race pulled up beside us in a golf cart and asked if we (I) needed a ride. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to give up at that point, but was somehow convinced to take the ride. Once in the cart, though, I learned that they were going to turn around and go back the way we’d come. I knew I wasn’t ready to do that. I hadn’t seen the best of the light displays yet, and I also kind of wanted to experience the cookie stop with my parents.
So I got off the golf cart and continued on. I got a lot of attention, which made me uncomfortable. People were just trying to be nice and I knew I couldn’t complain about the attention, especially since I had put lights on my crutches. But I still didn’t like it.
We were too late for the cookie stop. No cookies. No water. Just somebody sweeping up the street.
There were kids singing carols and a lot of people out in their yards, cheering and wishing us a “Merry Christmas” as we meandered by. We got some very enthusiastic cheering. I’m sure it had something to do with my crutches, but perhaps more to do with the fact that everyone had been standing out in the cold, drinking eggnog or whatever they were drinking, for hours by the time we passed by.
We skipped an out and back, which caught us up with some other walkers for a while. But not for very long.
Kurt took this picture of dad waving goodbye to mom and I as we rode off. Actually, Kurt took almost all of these pictures, as my hands were both on my crutches and I was trying to move along as fast as I could (which was not fast, at all.)
We didn’t make it very far, though, before I asked the driver to let us off. I didn’t want to miss anything. In hindsight, I should have stayed on until I could see the finish line. We still had more than half a mile to go. My hands, wrists and under-arms were killing me. I was getting tired and sloppy with the crutches. It’s a bit of a miracle that I didn’t fall and seriously hurt myself. I would not advise doing an event like this on crutches!
As we were approaching the finish line, the police car that was following the last person came up behind us. We moved over to the sidewalk, and the police car passed, followed by all of the traffic that had been held up by the race.
It was my second time this year (and ever) being the VERY last finisher at an event.
What a year!!
Santa had gone home, but a very nice lady was still standing at the finish line to hand us our medals.
I love the medals. They double as Christmas tree ornaments.