Week Fourteen was a joyous run from Ryder Park in Dewitt where running 20 miles was the goal. Although I already completed a 20 mile run a few weeks ago with great difficulty, this second 20 mile run was much easier, but equally as tiring.
The Team In Training met at Ryder Park next to the Dewitt Town Hall. Interestingly, there was another group, First Time Marathoners, who met in the lot next to us. I would guess that there must have been over 50 runners training for a half marathon or a marathon this fine Saturday morning. Running is definetly a popular sport, something I didn't realize until I started running.
Well, the Team In Training took off down the Erie Canal cinder trail just after 7am. Maureen set up seberal water stops which were approximately 2-3 miles apart. Thank goodness for these water stops. When I ran my first 20 miles alone, I did not have water stops. I had a few bottles on a belt that ran out too soon and needed to be refilled. Being alone didn't make that solo run any easier either. However, this morning we had water and company. So let me thank, as best as I can, the volunteers who gaves us runners an oasis along the roads and tarils of Dewitt: first there was the self serve water stop at N. Burdick St followed by another stop at Minoa Road handled by Carrie. By mile 5 or so was Theresa and her son along Saintsville Road where we ran along the railroad tracks, and the many bicyclers training for their racing season; man, they are fast. You could hear the tires humming as they appraoched from behind. Then came Marybeth at Poolsbrook Road. She was just a little too comfy lounging under the shadow cast by the hatch of her Ford Escape. And once inside the canal park again, just before the 10 mile turn around was Jennifer with her mom giving us water, Gatorade, and ICE POPS; awesome! Thank you very much for getting me and the others through our 20 mile run. The breaks were necessary since the sun was strong and the road hot.
For me the road was lonely until reaching the water stops and then the finish. I started running with the Charlie and Joel along the canal; then we ran 4 abreast once Missy joined us, blocking the path. If we were NASCAR we would have caused an accident for sure. I found myself alone once I passed the first manned water stop and the others stopped for refreshment. I ran alone from tha point on. I eventually caught up to Denise along Poolsbrook Road, running slow and comfortable.
I truly admire her perserverance to finish each week. She has a comfortable pace. She says its about 12 min/mile. She seems embarassed by it, but I think her pace is just what the comfort doc ordered. Going slow builds long term endurance and may be a safe guard against injuries as the body adapts to more miles. As I pass her I always have a desire to run with her and slow down to enjoy the rn more. Yet, I always run by. Running to finish the distance and try to stay below 10 min/mile. It shouldn't matter; I'm not going to win anything. Its me against the road.
For the people who struggle each day with blood cancer, its them against the disease. They look ate each hour, day, and year as a battle to perservere, to overcome obstacles we can't even imagine. Their family and friends are their water stops; their small breathers, so to speak, to gather strength for more time and healing. So, help us runners help them in their battle and visit my donatin page: http://pages.teamintraining.org/cny/rnr09/wboyd.
After running by denise and encouraging her on while she encouraged me, I continued up Poolsbrook Road passing horses, miniature horses, peacocks, and sheep. Its beautiful along Poolsbrook Road. Then we entered the canal park again to reach the 10 mile turnaround and return the way we came. I passed the final waterstop and caught it on the return from the turnaround. It was here that I took my first gel pack and carried a Bomb Pop with me on my return from the canal park to Poolsbrook Road.
The return run was uneventful except for stopping to remove the gravel from insdie my shoes and seeing a very large turtle cross the trail as I neared Ryder Park running along the old garbage dump. This was the largest turtle I have ever seen outside of captivity. It had to be at over 12 inches long if it were a foot. In the words of George Costanza, "the sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man returning soup at a deli," he continues, "I approached the big fish. Whoa, big fella." I thought of that exchange between Jerry and George and laughed out loud. Literally, a real LOL.
I ran to the finish and received cheers for making it back. I smiled and wabed at the other TNTers who waited for us 20 milers to return. It felt great. I can't wait for the 26.2 which awaits me in San Diego in a few weeks.