Nathan Starting The Race
Nathan Flower Garden

What a handsome boy Nathan has become! The purple shirts are reserved specifically for those with CF so they know who they need to keep their distance from. It says “I am a fighter”. You know, in case you can’t read.

Yesterday marked the 3rd year that Nathan participated in the Great Strides walk to raise money for the CF Foundation. If you don’t know what the CF Foundation is, I urge you to click that square banner located just to the right. Or if you are on a mobile device it will probably be located at the bottom of the page. It’s the purple and blue one with the white letters on top. And then do me a favor and donate! It goes to a great cause, and one that is obviously very important to Vanessa and I. If it sounds like I’m plugging their website, it’s because I am. And I don’t plug many things. So yeah.

Let’s see, where should I begin. I believe I had heard on the radio the day before the walk that it was supposed to be partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Well, it ended up being quite a nice day. As in lots of sun. That’s unfortunate because I was really hoping it would be raining. For one, I just like dreary days and two, there hasn’t been much rain this year. And seriously, it’s far more comfortable to me when it’s not scorching hot. Just for the record, scorching hot on the A index is anything over 70°F  or 21.11°C.

Nathan Holding His Team Nathan Sign

Here we have Nathan holding his Team Nathan sign. This years sign is definitely lacking the glitter that previous years had.

Moving on. All the sunshine I got that day has darkened the top of my head by at least 5 shades. I don’t really know what a “shade” is but believe me, the skin on my head at this point is a wee bit  sensitive and the twenty year old bottle of aloe vera we had hanging around didn’t help much. I guess that’s what I get for having no hair.

Next up on the agenda, I will be talking about Nathan and his chosen method of travel. We knew he wouldn’t be able to handle a three mile walk, at least not without a lot of grumbling and multiple requests to ride on my shoulders. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but on occasion even Nathan has been known to grumble about something or another. Very much not like his daddy. I don’t know where he gets that from.

Luckily though, Nathan has a custom made bike that he is quite good at riding. I don’t mean to brag here, but Nathan learned to ride his bike (without training wheels) at 3 years of age. So let me take this time to give credit to Vanessa for helping Nathan build his custom made bike as well as helping Nathan learn to ride his bike at such an early age. Well, to be honest he really wanted to learn to ride his bike. So much so, that he was having meltdowns when he couldn’t get up and peddling. He has some killer determination sometimes.

Nathan Starting The Race

Nathan as he makes his final check in preparation of embarking on the Great Strides walk.

Wow. Over six hundred words in and I haven’t even begun to talk about the start of the walk. Maybe I should do that now.

Registration started at 11:00 A.M. with the walk scheduled to begin an hour later. Let me stop again and say something real quick. I don’t know why, but for some reason I keep wanting to call this a race. It could be that I somehow associate this with the Lost Lake run which is a race. I mean they both raise money for the CF Foundation and they both also require the individuals participating in the event to physically move from one place to another. But it might simply come down to the fact that I want to be the first person to cross the finish line.

I really can’t figure out why I care, but we were some of the last people to cross the finish line this year and it was deeply troubling for me. I vow that next year, we will come in first place in this non-race known as Great Strides.

Nathan Bikeing For Great Strides

Nathan cruising down the bike path with his little CamelBak. It’s actually a different brand I guess, but everyone knows CamelBak so I said that. This was shortly after we started the walk and it wouldn’t take him long to begin widening the distance between him and us.

Indeed I do believe I’m finally done with my ramblings so I should be able to stay on track at this point. The picture above was taken perhaps a half mile into the walk as we neared Westchester Lagoon. For all you birders out there, we saw arctic turns, magpies, a red necked grebe, and possibly a shearwater! – Vanessa finished that last sentence for me while I was outside with the daycare children. I would never use an exclamation point after stating that we saw a bird.

Nathan did an awesome job of riding slow and keeping just a little in front of us on the bike path. Every now and then he would look back to make sure we were still keeping up. Granted, as we got closer to the end of the walk he had increased that distance to an 1/8 of a mile (0.201168 km) or so, but he would always stop and wait for us to catch up.

Nathan Sitting On A Rock

If that looks like a fake smile, it’s because it is. He was being a stinker like me and was hiding from the camera.

I would say about a mile or so into the race walk, the trail makes its way next to the ocean. It’s a very beautiful walk especially on sunny days such as it was that day. You’ll see plenty of joggers, bikers, and those weird people with the summer skis. The trail is known as the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. So anyway, the tide was really far out and it smelled like a used bathroom. We continued making our way north towards the sewage processing plant when low and behold from behind a couple trees on the left side of the trail there appeared two sandhill cranes in flight doing their squacky thing. Notice the lack of an exclamation mark. Actually, I wish I would have had my phone ready so I could have taken a picture of them. Because to be quite honest, they were pretty cool.

Continuing on, we passed the mound that Vanessa and I got married on and shortly up ahead from there, we found Nathan sitting on the rock you see in the picture above. Then through a tunnel that runs under the train tracks, the trail meanders its way up an incline that leads to a little park called Elderberry Park. I think I fell off a swing there a long time ago. But I have to show you the cape that Vanessa wore during the walk. It was supposed to be for Nathan but he decided he didn’t want to wear it. As you can see below, it is quite fitting and it’s what gives Vanessa her Super Mom powers.

Vanessa Cape

If you’re wondering, no she didn’t steal Nathan’s bike. Sometimes he has trouble riding his bike up hills so she’s helping him push it up.

Vanessa And Her Dad

Here’s a bonus picture of Vanessa and her dad after the walk.

The end of the walk path makes its way through some pretty fancy homes that I’m sure are worth more money than I would ever want to pay. Finally, after one last steep hill we neared the finish line and were looking forward to some hotdogs!

After going through the balloon portal – otherwise known as the finish line – we grabbed some food for Nathan and sat down at an empty picnic table with Vanessa’s parents who had shown up by that time to hang out with us for a little while. Nathan’s lunch consisted of a couple hotdogs, (with no buns of course) a meat and cheese stick, a granola bar, chips, mini cookies, and a bottle of water. The topic of conversation quickly turned to birding as someone at the table was an avid birder.

Apart from filling everyone in on how many magpies we had seen that day (it’s a game Vanessa and I play) we talked briefly about a certain type of little black bird we had been seeing lately. They have no coloring other than being straight up black that we have noticed, and they seem to like to perch in the poles of the traffic lights around town. It’s been a mystery to us as nothing in Vanessa’s bird book of North America or any search on Google seems to match what we had been seeing. I did however get to share that a few days prior to the walk, we had seen a Northern Thrice, I think it’s called. So that was pretty cool.

During lunch, we noticed a pretty sweet looking Optimus Prime kite a few booths away that we thought might be fun to fly. A few quick kid games later, and Nathan had the tokens he needed to trade in for some prizes. So with the Optimus Prime kite in hand, it was off to the open field nearby to test it out. Fortunately, there was a bit of a breeze that day and Nathan got to fly his first real kite. It was fun to watch him run around as he was trying to keep it from falling down to the ground. I know I’m being quite biased here, but Nathan has the cutest run I’ve ever seen. He also has a particular run he busts out every once in a while, that we call the ‘old man run.’ It’s hilarious.

Nathan Figuring Out The Kite Line

I apologize for the graininess of his picture but as you can see, he’s trying hard to figure out how the line on that kite works.

Nathan Flying His Kite

He’s doing it! He’s flying his kite! If you look close enough you can tell that it actually is an Optimus Prime kite and that I wasn’t lying.

And that was our afternoon in a nutshell. It was the perfect sunny day to get out and get some exercise, all while helping to raise money for a great cause. My only complaint, is that I wish more people knew about the Great Strides walk and would sign up to do it. So if you’re reading this and are fortunate enough to have some friends, then please tell those friends about it. There’s no required amount of money you have to give to do the walk. You donate what you think is appropriate.

Whew, I actually made it. I think I’m getting to the end of the post. A few more sentences and yep, that should do it for me.

That evening we were scheduled to be interviewed and filmed for a video to help promote the Lost Lake Run. It was an odd experience I guess you could say. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about CF while trying to keep it together. But that’s a different topic for a different time. I’ll end the post with the following picture of Nathan being messy Nathan.

Nathan With A Messy Face

Nathan is getting good at comebacks. I asked him, “How did you get so dirty?” And he immediately responded with, “How did you get so old?”


Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *