Her Bad Mother

Friday, September 14, 2007

Using My Muscles

Edited below; more information.

I don't exercise. Never have, really. Oh, I've tried, but I just can't get into it: gyms are smelly, and yoga bores me. This is not to say that I have never engaged in anything fitness-y, just that I need to have better reasons than fitness. I like my bicycle because it gets me places. I love horseback riding because I love horses and I love the discipline of riding and I love (or loved - this should actually be past tense, because I haven't been on a horse since becoming pregnant) being able to escape the noise and haste of the city for the lovely stink of the barn. I studied ballet for years, just to prove to my mother that I wasn't hopelessly graceless (I failed, miserably, but can nonetheless do a posture-perfect plie. Just don't ask me to actually dance. I will step on you, and hurt you, and myself, and anyone within ten feet.)

And, from time to time, I've run. Not, again, for the sake of fitness - as I said, I've never been much fussed about fitness for fitness's sake, and really don't see anything wrong in not having rock-hard abs - but for a variety of other reasons. Clearing my head, for one - I've always found running to be a most effective head-clearer. Dealing with grief, for another.

When my nephew Tanner was diagnosed with a terminal, degenerative illness a few years back, I found that the only way that I could shake the foggy hangover that attends hours of crying and pressing of fists into eye sockets was to just head out my door and run. Run, run, run; pounding my feet into the pavement, pushing myself to round the next corner, to race up the next set of steps, to keep going, keep going, keep going until my lungs were fit to burst. And then I would stop, and stretch, and rub my sore muscles, and revel in the ache and tell myself that I should ache, that the aching is a privilege, that Tanner's muscles would only ever ache from the exertion of living and, later, from the exertion of dying. And then I would get up the next morning, muscles aching and eyes rubbed sore, and do it all again.

I ran until winter came that year, and then stopped, balking at the snow and the frost. Before I had a chance to force myself out into the cold, I got pregnant. Thus ended my running. I found other ways to deal with the grief, and, later, with the joys and fears of motherhood and the general messiness of a life lived with love. I found writing.

My sister, Tanner's mom, never did stop running. It wasn't something that she and I talked about very often, but she was running, too. Faster, and further. Her grief was far more difficult than mine to escape, and so she ran and ran for miles, her sadness and her fear nipping at her heels, her dream of hope or, at least, solace, glimmering in the distance. She ran and she ran and she's still running. She's run hundreds and hundreds - maybe thousands - of miles now. Marathons, many times over.

She's coming to my city at the end of this month, to run. It's my deep, deep regret that I cannot run by her side. She's running a marathon. She's running it fast. It - and she - are beyond me. I haven't run in nearly three years, except when chasing Wonderbaby. (And she never goes 26 plus miles. At least, not yet.) So I can't run with my sister. I wish that I could, but I can't.

But I can walk. And I can write. So I've decided to combine the two, and throw in a little bit of mad cheering.

Her Bad Sister is running in Toronto's Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, September 30th. I'm going to do the 5k Charity Challenge Wussy Walk, which is an adjunct to the marathon, as a show of support to her, and to raise money for muscular dystrophy. And I'm going to do it all in Tanner's name. It'll be Tanner's Walk, and I'd love for anybody who is in the Toronto area to join me. (Seriously. You don't have to know me. You just have to be willing to sign up and walk with me and cheer for Tanner and his mom. I'd love it if you would. E-mail me or leave a comment here and I'll get in touch with details. The more the merrier!)

And if you don't live close enough to come walk, you could pledge me. Money raised will go directly to Muscular Dystrophy Canada, in Tanner's name.

And, finally, you could spread the word, send people back here to hear this story, encourage them to walk or pledge or just send cheers and good wishes. That would be wonderful, too. (Let me know if you do. I'll want to thank you.)

Tanner. Whose heart is stronger than his muscles give it credit for.

It would be wonderful for me, and for my sister, and most especially, for Tanner. And if you get a little fitness inspiration out of it, well - that's a good thing, right?

(If you want actual fitness inspiration, check out PBN's 'How Do You Fit In?' Blog Blast, or take part - you could win a pair of Ryka running shoes. Help you run marathons. Or walk them.)

Edit: all of you awesome, awesome people making pledges... if you're having difficulty, as some of have reported, either just keep trying with the pledge link HERE (it seems to sort itself out), or go HERE and find the button that says "Put A Pledge on Your Favourite Runner Or Walker" - ahem, ME - and click through and search my name (Catherine Connors.) Voila!

Those of you who have said that you'll walk with me (WOO HOO!) I'll be in touch by e-mail in a day or two to pass on details.

You all rock. I heart you.


Blogger motherbumper said...

HBM, Bumper and I will be there by your side walking for Tanner, we would miss it for the world.

1:43 PM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

Ok, I'm having trouble trying to "connect" as it says on the site. I'd love to help sponsor and will try again later. Good luck on your goal, and I wish that your sister's running could truly make it all go away...

2:25 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Send me the details please. It sounds like fun! And let me know if strollers are allowed, or not.

Oh, and if you want to start running again, lemme know. I'm still going, although I'm much slower now. That might be a way to ease back into it for you. Any company on a run is most welcome.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheers to you, C. I wish I could walk with you, but I'll have to settle for pledging for now.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Sunny said...

That brought tears to my eyes. I've often wondered if you could outrun grief. Even though I don't know you, I would walk with you if I was anywhere near Toronto. I'd love to pledge though.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only it were possible to outrun the grief.

I would join you in a heartbeat if you lived in the right damn city. But seeing as how fate has conspired to plant us on different sides of the same country, I'll cheer you on virtually.

And toss money in the name of Tanner in your pledging direction.

I only wish my family were half as supportive as you are to your sister.

Bloggy love to you and your sister. And mostly, to Tanner.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

God, Cath. I wish I lived close enough. I'd be there in a minute.

4:28 PM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

I would love to pledge, but it looks like the pledge form is only taking Canadian addresses. If you E-mail me with an address, I can send the donation to you.

I hope you don't get snow for the race! ;)

5:07 PM  
Blogger b*babbler said...

Count me in! While I'm pretty shy in large groups of new people, I can surely overcome such a minor thing on behalf of Tanner.

Just let me know what I have to do!

5:31 PM  
Blogger Girlplustwo said...

i can already picture you walking, head high and mighty. you.

of course you will. and so will we. either virtually or physically.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Ally said...

Wish I could be there to walk with you. Please tell your sister that Tanner is beautiful, and that we're all here cheering them both on.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I'll see what I can do, donation-wise - I can't think of a better cause.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Phoenix said...

I wish I could be there to do the walk. I'm so not a runner. I live to far away, so I'll see what I can do Donation wise. Good luck on your walk.

6:21 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

May the wind be at your sister's back.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish we could be there to cheer you on in person. Instead, the whole of the house of h will be sending you best wishes from Brooklyn. We are pleased to sponsor and to support your family.
May you have the wind beneath your feet.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

I love a good walk, especially for such a wonderful cause. I'll be with you in spirit and, of course, I'll continue to cheer on Tanner.

7:45 PM  
Blogger S said...

I, too, would be there if I could. Instead, I will pledge. That I can do (assuming donations are accepted from us USA types).

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Luck Catherine.

US folks should know, change the country first and then it will let you pick a US state :-)

8:10 PM  
Blogger Karla Zamora, Digital Analyst said...

Count me in!

Give me the details and I will certainly try to be there to walk beside you and support Tanner and HBS.

If I can't be there physically, I will be there in spirit and will cetainly pledge you:)

8:22 PM  
Blogger Suzanne Bird-Harris said...

It's been many years since I was in the GTA - I used to live across the lake in Youngstown, NY. You all provide such a beautiful night skyline by which to "neck" with one's boyfriend...LOL But on the 30th, I will be there in spirit, and may just have to find some pavement to pound here in Tulsa to feel just a tad more connected.

I just pledged, and in my heart, there are many more zeros to the left of that decimal. Just can't get my bank balance to cooperate. :)

Give HBS a big Okie hug for me.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

I'd love to join you, but can only in spirit and donation. I hope your sister has a great race.

I started running to do something I never thought I could. Not to lose weight but to feel strong and alive. One way to be powerful and have purpose even if you can't fix or change other things.

11:11 PM  
Blogger flutter said...

I love you for this and will be with you in spirit and with some cash.

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could be there...

How can I pledge?

8:40 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

I don't run any more either, but I will always walk for a worthy cause.

My legs are already committed to the CIBC Run for the Cure on the 30th, but I walked, virtually, over to the site and made a pledge.

He's a sweet little boy. All the best to you and your family.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be walking with you in spirit, Catherine, since I live in the "wrong" country, but I will be pledging as soon as the donation site decides to cooperate. I'll keep trying, and bless you for being so supportive of your sister and adorable nephew.

7:46 PM  
Blogger moplans said...

Catherine as much as I would like to be there I think it will have to be in spirt. Though... if you are bringing wondergirl and a stroller I might be able to join. Let me know.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

That's wonderful! Good luck! I did my first charity race in June (it was only 5 k) and the feeling of accomplishment after was amazing! Enjoy.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

hey, can we still write tanner letters to the same address listed before around december?

im newish to blogging, just read of your newphew today and would love for my boy to write him

anyway, im going to pledge for you, i sure wish i was closer and could come, walk with you

8:13 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Sara, you're a doll - you can certainly send letters to that address. XOXO

8:18 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

XOXOXOXO to ALL of you. You all blow me away.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Tania said...

Count me in too. You can send the details to allyoop at rogers dot com

10:41 PM  
Blogger Pissed OFF Housewife said...

When I was losing battles everywhere else I ran.

I ran away from home every morning at 5.

I miss running but not the ache in my soul.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

Catherine, I'm with you and your family in spirit.

4:42 PM  

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