Sunday, June 5, 2011

Patty says: Thanks! That was fun!

OK, first, I need to apologize to everyone: Jef and I have done a horrible job of maintaining the blog this spring, and posts have been few and far between.

Jef's been buried in work for I don't know how long, and since he's still got an injured hip*, he's lost one of his best stress relievers and is in no mood to update a log. (I don't have any excuseI've just been surprisingly scattered this spring.)

So anyway. Remember back in January when we started planning to rappel from Lansing's tallest building, Boji Tower? A number of you opened your wallets to pledge money to the Team Lansing Foundation, which received the money raised by the rappellers. We very much appreciated your support; Team Dope on a Rope (the two of us) raised $1,265.

Yesterday was D(escent)-Day.

Jef and I were scheduled to rappel at 1:35 p.m.; by the time we made our way down the building, it was closer to 2:30. It was hot and humid: the photos my Dad took in the two or so hours he was there (two of them illustrate this post) showed the temperature as displayed on the Boji Tower sign rising from 83° to 88°. And did I mention that we were required to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts?

So. Hot. Humid. Overdressed. Behind schedule.

Worth. Every. Minute.

I really thought I'd have a tough time stepping over the edge of the roof, but when you're concentrating on backing over a railing and getting your foot out from under one of the ropes while wearing a harness that does nothing for your mobility, you just don't have time to second-guess yourself. It didn't hurt that the guy working my rope and double-checking my safety equipment was someone we know and trust.

And then suddenly, there were were: Dangling side by side, nearly 300 feet above Capitol Avenue. Look to the left? There's one of Lansing's prettiest old churches, just over Jef's shoulder. Look to the right? There's one of the buildings where I used to work. Look behind us? There's Michigan's Capitol Building. Look down? Hi, Dad!

We slowly began making our way down the building, stopping frequently to rest our arms, to perch on a windowsill and enjoy the view, to wave to my Dad and, once, to steal a kiss. (I mean, come on. Were we ever going to get an opportunity like that again?)

I honestly don't know how long it took us to descend. We were told it would take five to 15 minutes, and we milked it as long as we could without throwing the event further behind schedule. There's something wonderfully surreal about walking down the outside of a tall building. I was sorry when we finally reached the ground.

But in a whirlwind, it was over. Unclip the carabiners, return the radios, thank the belayers ("Did you guys really kiss while you were up there?" one of them asked) and walk back into the building. Take the elevators back up to the 22nd floor, hand back your helmet, unbuckle your harness and step out of it. Claim your bag full of droppable stuff (cell phones, water bottles), your commemorative photo and your bragging-rights t-shirt. Thank the volunteers.

Take the elevators back down to street level. Step back out into the heat and humidity. Step back into being completely ordinary.

(Sigh.) It was great while it lasted.

*About Jef's hip: They think it's a torn labrum. (Per something I just found online that explains it better than anything I was coming up with, the labrum is the cartilage that surrounds the socket of his hip joint. It forms a ring around the edge of the socket of the hip joint and helps to provide stability by deepening the socket while still allowing flexibility and motion.) He's having ONE MORE TEST tomorrow; if everything goes as expected, they'll be scheduling surgery.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Patty says: It was OK. Really.

(Hi, everyone. Remember me?)

So Jef and I have returned from Boston, where, as I think most of you know by now, Jef did NOT run the Boston Marathon despite qualifying for it last October in Detroit and managing to land one of the coveted entries a day or two later.

(For the few of you who don't know: He's hurt. He slipped on a patch of snow in February and injured his hip and then, based on some bad advice from people who should have known better and excessive optimism on his part, continued to train on it until he had all but crippled himself. He has an MRI on Monday to try to figure out what's wrong so it can be fixed so that, with any luck at all, he can try this again NEXT year.)

Here's the good news:

Because we were standing together at the 23-mile mark (instead of running somewhere in the midst of 26,000+ people and standing at the whatever mile mark watching for a single runner in the midst of 26,000+ people) on Monday, we got to watch Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Musap smoke their way past us en route to the fastest Boston Marathon finishes ever. 

The top four men (including Ryan Hall, who ran the fastest marathon ever by a U.S. runner) all beat the course record set last year, and Mutai finished in 2:03:02 (!). (While that's the fastest marathon ever, it won't be recognized as a world record because Boston's a downhill course.)

We got to see three of the fastest women on the planet battling it out, too. Caroline Kilel of Kenya took the race at 2:22:36, while American Desiree Davila, who was in the lead as they ran past us, finished four seconds behind.

We got to see some old friends and make some new ones, too. I got to enjoy the fact that my MS-impaired gait was mistaken for post-marathon runner's gait (it is, in fact, remarkably similar) on Monday night and Tuesday. We had a great time.

Jef was a really good sport about it all.

But my heart broke every single time I watched him watch someone else limp by on Tuesday wearing a finisher's medal...