Okay, so I already mentioned in my previous post that I went to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Saturday for the arthritis walk. According to the free pedometer they gave me, I walked a total of 7.5 miles! Yay! Let me tell you more about what went on before the walk, though.
For a few weeks, I was a bit hesitant on whether or not I’d go by myself to the zoo. I have never driven there myself. The last time I went to the zoo was back in 1993 for a college field trip. I was taking a course called “Freshmen Experience”. I remember going to the zoo with all of my fellow freshmen and our professor and his assistant professor. I was the last one to be rounded up at the end of the day, and I remembered the stinging awkwardness of everyone waiting for me. Good times.
Anyway, so it had been awhile. I looked up Mapquest to see if I could get there without the use of freaky highways, and there was a way that took a little less than half an hour. Sweet. I was still nervous, though, because it was way out of my comfort zone. I would’ve rather gone with a friend of mine who’s fearless, but she couldn’t go. It was up to me. Even my mom was nervous for me. The closer it got to the day of the walk, the more I wanted someone to tell me that the walk was canceled or maybe it was rained out or something.
Nope, the day arrived and I decided I was gonna go for it. I left early and started on my voyage. Half of the trip was in familiar territory, and thankfully none of it was under construction. During the last bit of the trip, I did get confused and had to turn around, but once I actually trusted the signs that led to the zoo, I found my way and took a few deep breaths after I found a parking spot.
We all had light blue T-shirts on, so we could find our team. That was helpful. When I got there, I was given a tote bag and then sent to the pre-registered area of the sign-in tent. The lady checked off my name and gave me a free admission ticket to the zoo since I was part of the walk.
Later on, I noticed that other people had other bags they could use as backpacks. Someone else had a pedometer, so I went to find those bags. I found them and the pedometers, so I thought I’d give my original totebag back to the lady who was handing them out. About 1/2 hour after I gave the bag to her, I realized my free ticket had been inside. Oops and expletives! I told our team leader and she said that there were probably some people who weren’t coming, so I’d still wind up with a ticket, but either way, it would be handled. Eventually, I was able to find the woman who I gave the totebag to, and I told her my story. She said, “Oh, let me see if I can get you another ticket!” She was gone for maybe 10 seconds and returned with an extra free ticket! I wanted to hug her, I was so relieved.
Now, since I raised 100 + for the walk, I should’ve been given a coupon for a free T-shirt. I never got that, and found out later at another tent. A friend of mine was there with her husband and she offered hers, since she said she’d wind up wearing her husband’s T-shirt anyway.
We were eventually able to start our walk. I separated from the pack and went off on my own. On my way up a steep hill, I recognized another coworker and her grandson, so I walked with them for awhile and then had lunch once we were finished with the official walk. Then we went our separate ways because we wanted to see different animals. I wanted to see the wolves, especially.
After awhile, I was done and just wanted to head back home. I found my car and headed back home. I was still nervous about the ride home, and it was made worse by the fact that it was weekend traffic. My head started to get really tight as I waited for familiar territory. Once I did find a very familiar street, I started to relax. I patted myself on the back for fighting through my fear of leaving my zone, and then had fun sorting through my photos. Here are a few: