My 16 mile training run was on Saturday. It was a gorgeous morning and I was feeling excited (though a little nervous) about reaching yet another long run milestone in my training. Courtney (being the ever-stellar running partner that she is) met me at 6:30 and we ran with the group we have been joining on weekend long runs the past few times. You can't go wrong with a group that meets rain or shine, has lots of dynamic running personalities/speeds/styles, sets out water at various mileages, AND (saved the best for last) has chocolate chip whole grain muffins and chocolate milk waiting at the finish. Yummy!
When I arrived there was a larger than normal group and, like I said - the weather was perfecto. We all got ready and took off down the road and it was so dark still that we could barely see in front of us. I mean seriously - I was trying to differentiate spots on the asphalt from road kill. Crazy! I thought to myself: "it is a special group that can share this camaraderie ~ up before everyone else and out doing what we like to do - putting one foot in front of the other" - I dunno, it's just a really cool thing and I love it! I love early morning runs too - not because I like to get up early but because it just seems to make the run feel better and go quicker which in the event of a 16 mile run is not such a bad thing, you know?
Unfortunately Courtney got to feeling sick and some of her co-workers had some GI bug the week prior so she decided to cut the run short (smart girl - there are no potty's on our route). I was a little worried when she left because we run a bit of a slower pace than the other runners out there and I was kind of thinking "oh my word, now I am going to seriously have to pick up my pace and of all runs!" Thankfully I joined up with some other runners and the run went better than I expected. I have no complaints really and actually I gained some pretty sweet perspective.
Your body and mind do some crazy things when you are up in running mileage and when you find yourself alone it can get pretty intense. Around mile 14 I separated from who I had been running with and I ran for a little bit before turning on my IPOD to rock me into the finish. So...I had some thinking time. My feet hurt, my hamstrings were tight and I kept thinking - man, it would feel good to walk right now. I reminded myself in that moment why I was doing this. Am I doing this to reach a personal goal - of course I am. I am a sucker for endurance events. I love a challenge and even more I love the feeling you get when you reach a goal that you worked really hard for. So...obviously that is one of the reasons I am training for this event. The other reason and the more gratifying reason is the fact that I am running for St. Judes patients who happen to be children. For some reason I felt like I was thinking/feeling on a greater level while I was out there running. I just thought to myself - my little girl is so healthy, she is such a blessing and there are parents out there who just simply don't have that luxury. For some reason they were given children who are ill and therefore they go from Dr. to Dr., some of them have spent their life earnings and savings on health care, they feel helpless and sometimes hopeless, they exhaust their resources and sometimes that isn't enough. Then....comes St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. They give families like this one a new start - a new beginning. Helen is the same age as my precious Kennedy and they have basically lived their lives with her in a hospital since she was 8 months old. I just can't imagine. It makes me run harder, faster and makes my steps more determined. If those families can go through that - if those kids can persevere, than so can I! I am so happy that I can fund raise for a place that is doing such amazing and proactive things in medicine. If you have some wiggle room in your charitable giving this month, please consider supporting me and donating to St. Judes.
This coming weekend I get to run with my sister that is running the marathon with me. We are registered for a 30 K trail run in Winston Salem and Tim, Kennedy and I are leaving on Thursday to go and get some family time in as an extra bonus. I hope after this past weekends run I am ready but more than anything I am just looking forward to seeing my sisters and Kennedy seeing my neices. There is nothing better than hearing a bunch of girls scream "COUSINS" at the top of their lungs. Soooooo looking forward to it.