The True, Unadulterated Story of the Five Km. Women’s Mental Health Run of May 27, 2023; To Be Continued; Some Photos of the Day, the Former Intern’s Residence and the Eventual Reward, a Treasure Trove of Goodies. 

Now the truth can be told. Well actually the truth could have been told before but I did not get around to it because of my 80th birthday, etc etc etc. 

Here is how it all got started. I have a FANTASTIC new physiotherapist at the Glen Sather Sports Clinic located in the Kaye Medical Clinic which is right across the street from the former Intern’s Residence where I lived from 1966-67 on the ground floor, right-hand side facing the street. The first time I went to the Glen Sather Sports Clinic and finally got across the street, it was a bit strange, to say the least. I did take a photo and you can see it at the bitter end (of the blog). 

But back to the 5 km walk, The Fab Physio – hereinafter FAP (Fabulous Awesome Physiotherapist) encouraged me to build up the muscles by giving me exercises, print outs of the exercises, hope and encouragement. He also told me to get out and walk. So I did and it was on one of my walks (to Audrey’s Books to pick up a book they ordered for me) that I met three fascinating people. One a U of A psychology student from Iran, who confirmed that the ONLY way to get to Canada is apply to graduate school. He gave me a face mask because it was one of those awful smokey days. The next woman was originally from Italy and we spoke of her resilient grandmother who had been through two wars and regaled complainers with stories of her friends who had overcome far worse conditions. The third person I spoke with was a 53 year old woman who worked at the University of Alberta. We had an extremely interesting conversation which somehow, for some strange reason. concluded with her giving me news of the Shopper’s Drug Mart

Women’s Walk for Mental Health. 

Spoke to FAP at my very next appointment – he was so encouraging. 

He: Go for it Alexis. You can do it. 

Me: I can do it! I can do it! I can really, really do it! 

He: Just go slowly, take many rests when you need it. Do not worry about speed. Wear your brace and keep up the exercises. 

Me: Thanks! You are my hope and my inspiration. 

SOFTS (Star Of The Show) helped me with the impossible online application, picked up my shirt for me and then picked me up at 7:30 in the morning. Of May 27, 2023.  We picked up two other women, students in the PhD program on the way. It was jolly. 

The day was clear – warm, more than just a little warm, unfortunately rather hot. (Admittedly not UAE hot, but Edmonton hot). Many people milling about in a very disorganized fashion. I see a woman physiotherapist, in charge of the physiotherapist gathered there giving massages. 

Me: Hi Kara 

She: How did you know my name??? 

Me: This is unbelievable. Yesterday I get in my apartment elevator, Another woman is going to my floor. She tells me she is going to the U of A  enrolled in their famed physical therapy program.  I tell her I am going to Women’s Walk. She tells me your name and says Kate sent me. I did!

She: She is my student!! 

Despite that connection somehow I do not get the massage. I guess I kept running around and talking to people. 

It is getting hotter. There are no water stations to be seen, people milling about but the order to start is delayed.  

Me: This is a horrible thing to be saying but this event had  to be organized by women. I am a feminist but sometimes women can lack organizational skills. They are too busy trying to please each other. Their eye is not kept on the ball. 

SOFTS: I agree with you totally. 

(Keep your eye on the ball is an idiom an informal way of telling someone to pay attention to a situation. It is commonly used in (and originates from) the game of baseball, to imply that players need to watch where the ball is at all times).

It is getting hotter and hotter – we are told to go to the starting line but nothing happens and there is raucous tuneless music blaring away. It is getting hotter and hotter and hotter. 

Me: I HATE the heat, I get SO grouchy.  I tell people if I lived near the Equator I would be a mass murderer.  

She: But you lived in the UAE for five months. 

Me: Dear, there is air conditioning! I almost froze as I would turn the air conditioner to its lowest temperature. With all of the oil they have in the Middle East one does not worry about depleting the oil resources, carbon tax or any such thing.  I was guilt free. 

Nothing continues not to happen. Out of a sense of utter frustration I yell in my loudest lawyer voice, which is deafening.  I need no megaphone.  

Me: Start this race immediately! Lets get it on everyone  

This worked!! (Perhaps I just had a great sense of timing). Off we all went, stumbling our way down the path, like lemmings to the sea. It should come to no surprise to you that I researched this expression, with the following result.  

“The expression “like lemmings to the sea” originated in the 1950s and remained popular for decades afterward.  The phrase was used as a way of symbolizing people who unthinkingly follow what the crowd is doing, often with dangerous, if not downright fatal, consequences.  That lemmings (small, hamster-like creatures) deliberately self-destruct en masse is actually a complete myth, a myth that has a powerful hold on the popular imagination.  It is one of those many tidbits that we all mistakenly “know,” in the same way that we “know” that the Inuit have dozens of words for snow. So where did this myth originate?  Many believe that a compelling sequence from a 1958 Disney film entitled White Wildernesshas a lot to do with it.  The scene purported to show wave after wave of lemmings plummeting over precipitous cliffs into the Arctic Ocean.  Accompanied by solemn commentary and melodramatic music, that film helped imprint the idea of rodents with a death wish into the public’s consciousness.  It was, however, a cruel fake.  Clever camera angles and good editing made it look real.  Yet, the idiom (and misconception) had already taken hold and was used for many years before its popularity ebbed.  Interestingly enough, lemmings lead solitary, hermit-like lives and rarely collect in large groups!

Joy was finally experienced, it was a beauteous path – trees providing greenery, color peace and shade.. This expression came to mind:  only God can make a tree. It has its origins in a poem  The poem goes like this: “Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree” The poet is comparing the creativity of humans with the creativity of God. He concludes that humans creativity can never be as perfect as that of God. Humans can never make something like the tree. 

That is poetic, the trees were present and accounted for. Alas and alack, there were no water stations, no one handing out water to the thirsty, sweating survivors. I do admit that this was my first venture into a run/walk but I have viewed them from afar. I was counting on it, thought it was an essential. Not here, not on this day. 

Parched, but brave and determined, I limped on. There were no markers, I was beginning to tire. 

Me: I wonder how far we have come. 

A helpful woman armed with technology answered: 

She: One kilometer. 

My math skills are rudimentary, but I did know that we had not even reached the half way point. 

At that moment an oasis appeared on my right. A clearing with benches, shade, and grass. Remembering FAP’s advice, his recommendations for a successful, relatively pain free completion, I spoke to my walking companion SOFTS; 

Me: I am going to follow the advice of my adored FAP, and take a rest. It is my goal to be the second last person to complete the race. That shall be a win for me! 

She: I will join you. A friend in need, is a friend indeed. 

(The phrase a friend in need is a friend indeed means what it seems to mean. A friend is someone who helps when you need it. In other words, the friends that you can truly count on are the ones who are there for you when you need them the most.). This saying jokingly became a friend with weed is a friend indeed. That is unnecessary in Canada as the country had the foresight to legalize marijuana. 

SOFTS and I retreated into the west. The story shall be continued at a later time. It gets even better. It shall involve a rescue by a knight in shining armor driving a garbage truck with a prior injury who takes pity on a damsel in distress. Stay tuned. 

Some photos of the magnificent day will continue. Things got better and ended in victory.