Week eight had us all meeting at the Great Northern Mall back near the Regal Cinemas to do what we love, not to shop, but to run Long Slow Distance.
I started out solo running for Morgan Rd. and soon found myself running with Joel and Charlie, then Maureen and Tim. Definetly a good group of people. While chatting with Tim, I discovered that he had run the Disney Marathon this past January. Although disappointed in his final time, he ought to be proud that he finished. He told me that they started busing runners to the starting line at 3AM and by the time the race was over the temperature rose above 70 degrees. Runners of Syracuse are not comfortable in January with such temps. Give us 20 degrees with some snow and ice on the road; at least make us feel comfortable.
As we approached the first water stop, I was alone again. I chose to keep running while Tim, Joel, Charlie, and Maureen stopped. Stopping was probably the wise choice, but I plodded along. The road got whindy and hilly after that first water stop. I passed under a large oak tree and could hear the pecking of a woodpecker; I could not spot him. Soon after, as I approached the Pirates Cove sign, I heard fast approaching footsteps, it was Joel. I couldn't believe he caught up to me. It was good to have company again. Having a running-mate makes a huge difference. Its a check of the will to stay the course. It keeps the mind saying, "If he can do it, so can I."
Right below 481 we stopped for some Gatorade and chatted with Liz who had volunteered for the water stop. I asked her about the gels and agreed to try one for the final dash upon my return from the 14 mile turn around. Joel and I made it to the turn around and looked forward to stopping at Liz's water stop again to refuel for the road ahead until the reaching the original water stop. At the stop, I choked down the vanilla gel with two cups of water; Joel had some Gatorade and we were on our way passing a contingent of runners (Tim, Kristen, Erica, and Cooch) heading for the turn around.
Passsing others in our group is uplifting. We are all in this boat together. As we pass eachother or catch up on a straight-away, the exchange of a smile, a wave of a hand, or just an encouraging word truly does transcend the discomfort of running longer distances. I wonder if that is how the people with blood cancer feel as they struggle, daily, with their affliction. Somedays the long road ahead seems too daunting, but a kind word from a friend or relative gets them through just as their reassurances of feeling better can make a difference for the loved one caring for them, hoping for the best. It is true that we are all in the same boat.
Whether we are running to raise funds and awareness for the LLS, donating our time and/or money, or the face of a disaese, we are all on the same team. Whoever donates to LLS in support of my run is joining the team. You run this marathon with me. Who knows what the future may hold? Your donation could be the difference maker. Your donation could help someone you know who has yet to be diagnosed since many people with blood cancer are diagnosed in their 40's like Jane Spellman.
Please visit my Leukemia & Lymphoma Society donation page at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/cny/rnr09/wboyd. Make your donation to join my run in honor of jane Spellman and all the people with blood cancer. I will do my best to achieve my goals, to raise the $4,400 and to finish the 26.2 miles. Your support increases my responsibility to do waht I promised. I will not fail you.
As Joel and I reached the ten mile mark, he reminded me of the hobbit Sam who told Frodo as he took one step beyond the Shire, that this step is the farthest he has gone. Joel achieved ten plus miles and completed the 14 he set out to do. He had run the farthest he had ever run. I was glad to be there for his milestone run. While accomplishing this run, we discussed how running allows you to switch into many gears, some high and others low. His gear was in "first" as we approached the final, and first, waterstop, that Mary Beth volunteered to manage. I remember Megan being there also with Carrie, but I couldn't tell for sure because of the "shades". It was a great day for sun glasses. I have got to get sun glasses for summer running. I should probbaly also wear some sunscreen, too.
Well, like all good runs, they must come to an end. This run ended at the Great Northern Mall just where it began. I received an extra jolt of energy once I spotted the "Enter" sign off Morgan Rd. I picked up my pace for a strong finish and even had my photo taken by Missy as I reached the parking lot.
See you all on the road.