21 mile long run
2 nights in State College, PA
30 hours in the car
6 states (MA, NY, PA, WVA, OH, KY)
Praise the Lord, we survived! The drive to and from Ohio was no picnic but well worth the time spent with family and friends. Many would say that the highlight of Thanksgiving is the delicious meal, and while ours was certainly tasty, the running nerd in me must admit that nothing beats starting the holiday off with a spirited race and an enthusiastic cheering squad. (Well, winning would've been better. But I tried.)
Another unexpected result of the race was finding a new friend and potential once-a-year training partner. I met Amy Robillard, who finished a fast charging third behind me on Thursday, as we were both panting our way through the finishing chute. I soon learned that not only does she live in Mason, the Cincinnati suburb where Jordan's family resides, but her house is literally a mile away from theirs. Contact info was exchanged and plans were made to put in a few hours together on a local riverside bike path later in the week. Come Saturday morning, Jordan and I met Amy and a few other intrepid post-holiday runners at Buckeye Running Company, a new specialty shop a few minutes' jog away from the casa. We had a full day of driving ahead, but not before getting our long run out of the way. Though my legs felt weary and lethargic, the run was still made enjoyable by the company and change of scenery. I learned that Amy, who won the Flying Pig Half-Marathon earlier this year, is actually running a marathon in just a few weeks, her first one back since giving birth to her second child a few years ago. Her son, Jameson, has spent the majority of his short life in and out of the hospital battling an autoimmune disease, so Amy's training is often sporadic and squeezed in amid the myriad duties of being a special needs mother. Her spunk and vibrant personality in spite of (or perhaps because of) adversity is incredibly admirable, and with a recent 1:18 half under her belt I have no doubt she's going to surprise herself in her coming marathon. After a few hours spent together on our feet I felt like I'd known her for years--what other sport besides running can create that kind of spontaneous friendship??
And so, with another hectic yet enjoyable week behind me, I continue to feel my strength and fitness steadily progressing. Next week will even be more challenging in terms of training, as our North American sales force descends upon our corporate office for a week of sales meetings, but I'll try to fit in the miles as best I can. With the Trials only weeks away, I can't afford not to! There is still plenty of work to be done.
Sunday, November 27, 2011