Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meeting Doloris

“Hi! My name is Doloris,” said the 5-foot tall, 70-year-old woman. I met her Friday morning on the sidewalk on a busy Branson, MO street. We were both walking for exercise and I had just caught up with her.

After chatting a little about my walking, Doloris said she had been a marathon runner when she was younger, but because of knee injuries she is now a walker. “When I was 49, I ran the Marine Corp. Marathon in 4:15,” she said proudly. “Around mile 20, I passed a group of service men and they were shocked.” She waited for them at the finish line to cheer them on. “Let’s do it again,” she shouted as they crossed. Needless to say, they did not take her up on it.

Both Doloris and her husband were avid runners and would enter a race a weekend, traveling all over the United States. “I would win my age group all of the time,” she said. “My basement is full of the trophies I won.” Though her husband can still jog, Doloris can’t even do that.  After several knee injuries and surgeries, she has to be careful. Though she normally walks 3 miles a morning, she planned to head to Silver Dollar City later that day. Because of all of the walking she would do at the park, she was limiting herself to only 2 miles that morning. “There’s no point in wearing out my knee and needing to sit on a bench the rest of the day.”

Though she had thought about knee replacement surgery, friends who had gone through the same surgery had mixed results. The majority suggested she not do it. “I’m holding out as long I can without it,” she said. “I just don’t want to end up unable to walk at all.”

When our conversation added an additional 20 min. to my planned walk, we prepared to go our separate ways. As I walked away she said, “So how old are you? 30?”

I think I’m going to remember Doloris.

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