Some of my friends don't understand why I signed up for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. My husband did not sign up. Our daughter did not sign up. Some days, I have trouble remembering why I signed up.
The Marines describe the "world-famous" mud run as "a challenging 10K run with hills, tire obstacles, river crossings, two 5-foot walls with mud on both sides, tunnel crawl, slippery hill climb, and the final 30-foot mud pit."
Penelope Glifort, from the Pasadena Equinox gym, was the first to tell me about the Camp Pendleton races. She explained that there are many imitations, but the Camp Pendleton event is the real deal.
Penelope is newest member of the organizing committee for the 2nd Lt. Andrew Torres Memorial Golf Tournament, to be held on May 16 at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club. She has run the race several times. Penelope keeps me focused.
People ask, "Why?" I explain that I'm competitive, I like a challenge, that it's a work-out goal to keep me in shape.
But the real reason I signed up is because of our late son, Andrew.
Andrew came down with cancer in 2002. He fought the disease.
And then, there was a window in the summer of 2003. He had finished a clinical trial and his strength was beginning to return. The doctors were cautiously optimistic.
Andrew was stationed in Annapolis as a young second lieutenant. The Marines assigned him to go back to Camp Pendleton, along with two jovial majors and a couple of hundred midshipmen from the Naval Academy. The majors cheerfully dumped most of the logistics onto Andrew. They laughed and said it was good for him. Every morning at dawn the entire group would gather to do physical training. The majors later recounted Andrew's joy to be at Camp Pendleton with his strength returning. They said that Andrew was strong and quick. Every morning he was at the front of the pack, leading the group on a run through the hills. No one could keep up with him. Andrew ran with a grin on his face.
Last fall I tried out my running legs at the less famous Camp Pendleton Buffalo Alley 5K. Andrew ran with me, every step.
Andrew is the real reason why I signed up for the mud run. The run will start with the "Star-Spangled Banner." There will be Marines everywhere.
Not too many people my age, but I figure, Andrew will show up. He'll say, "Mom? Mom? Why are you doing this? OK. OK. let's go."
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada resident. She practices law in Pasadena with her husband, Len Torres. For more on Andrew and the 2nd Lt. Andrew Torres Memorial Golf Tournament, to be held on May 16 at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club see http://www.andrewtorres.org.