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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

JIM by Lilian Webb

No Jim is not a new man in my life – though JIM has been a new found ‘friend’ since March…well, maybe not so much a friend, as a companion – a challenging one!

You see, as a member of Arthritis Ireland, I was invited to get my Joints In Motion –JIM! On the understanding that exercise is vital for my arthritis, and I don’t do exercise very much – I saw JIM as my challenge! So, I committed myself and sent off my registeration fee of €10!

So, on the 15th March, I set off getting into the walking habit – with a twenty minute walk around the block. Gradually I extended it so that on the 29th april, I had achievd one hour 25 minutes. I drove the route in the car to prove it would equate to about 5kms!

Two days before the walk I attended the Kildare Branch Arthritis Ireland meeting and met six others who were also taking part in the walk. They had organised a bus – so I signed up for the transport! They also had been participating in a programme sponsored by the HSE and Kildare Sports Partnership for founr week – but I was unable to attend these. By all accounts, the programme was very valuable.

So, the day dawned! My very comfortable Eco shoes were donned and in my rucksack was my wet gear, camera, number, safety pin, map and €10 for the busfare.

The day could not have been kinder – dry – with a gentle breeze and some clouds. Our bus was the shuttle bus to Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre with Marilyn Monroe on the sides – I’m definitely not a follower of fashion – so I found the fact I was on a Style Icon Museum bus very amusing!

While others warmed up to exercises before the walk, I took photo’s and propped myself up beside a tree wanting to get started. When I saw there was a lady of almost 100 taking part (looking very glamorous in a wheelchair) and a small child (equally pretty on a pink Molly tricycle), that encouraged me no end as I was unsure if I’d make the 5 kms!

At noon, John Church blew the horn and I set off. After about five minutes, I was joined by Pauline Murphy, whom I had met two days previously. I took her photo at the finish line for 2.5kms but Pauline decided she would continue on – though only signed up for 2.5kms. The time had passed for her as we talked.

By this stage there was a long line of people stretched way ahead of us. We had not seen any of the orher 11 Kildare Branch walkers since the start!

As we approached the finish line, the music got louder. We got a cheer and ‘Well done’ from the Arthritis Ireland folk. One man took a photo of Pauline and myself – my stick up in the air between us at the finish line. Maybe I should call my walking stick – which I call my third leg, like the Isle of Man – which has to accompany me – JIM!

It was 1.17!!

I was delighted to receive my t-shirt with ‘Finisher’ emblazoned on! Since, I wore it to collect my sponsorship.

As well as arthritis in common, I found out that Pauline was also a member of a local writers’ group. So, both of us had subject matter for our next night to write!