20 miles

For the first time I can say that I spent the week really looking forward to my 20 mile run. Well, at least until Friday around 9:30pm. To say that this past week was long and frustrating is a bit of an understatement. Sunday a tree limb fell on the house and did some damage to the roof. Monday was filled with storms. The power went out a home at 2:00 right after I left for work, which would normally take me 10 minutes to get to. It took 30 minutes on Monday. Then 2 minutes before I was suppose to teach the power went out at work, my 1st student who was 30 minutes late walked in right before the student I was waiting for showed. I didn’t know what to do. Tuesday morning we still didn’t have power, and I didn’t have much left in my cell phone and couldn’t get any help from work to get a hold of students. I spent most of the day in a rotten mood. Wednesday was better, but still had an situation that was frustrating. Thursday I went to bed frustrated, which caused me to wake up in a horrible mood on Friday, ditto for Saturday morning. I spent the better part of Friday morning in tears, and even a small part of Saturday before the run. I wasn’t in the mood to run with the team, and sadly I think it showed. I’m not at all proud of it. Usually I’m a person who is every good at bottling up my feeling and faking. I don’t want people to know about my personal struggles every day. I take the hits and try to go on, all the while venting my feeling internally, which quite frankly never helps any situation.

Which brings us back to Saturday morning’s 20 mile run with Team in Training. I ran the warm up lap pretty fast. I was in a bad mood and I needed to pound the pavement some. There was no way that I could help the participants as a mentor in the mood I was in. I am sad to say for the first time I think others noticed how I felt. My friend and teammate Jim came up to me before I left and gave me a pep talk and a hug (bringing more tears). There was never a question of completing 20 miles. NEVER! The challenge was being a team player. For some reason the group was slow getting out of the parking lot, and for whatever reason, I just started running. I ended up in front, which is not where I was suppose to be, but I told myself that it would be okay and I would get with the teammates I needed to be with at the first water stop. I need to straighten myself out a little bit.

Shannon & I
I settled into running with Shannon whom I have had the pleasure of running with several times throughout the season. She’s also someone I get along with very easily, and we generally have lots to talk about, and I honestly really enjoy running with her.
Now, if you haven’t seen any of my post from earlier in the week, you may not know about the flooding in the area that I live. I thought there wasn’t any way that we would be running in my regular stomping ground. Heck I hadn’t been able to run any of my normal routes all week. I was shocked when I got the map and saw where we were running. Having peaked in on a few spots earlier in the week I hadn’t felt safe running in the area. There was mud and fallen trees everywhere. A small part of me was curious to see it all, and the other part was heartbroken to see the area I had grown up in destroyed. The water line covered the first floor of most house. Grass, trees, and bushes were brown. Homeowners had dumpsters every where throwing away their belongings that had been ruined. In my 31 years I have never seen anything like it. And the smell was awful. I felt so bad running through the neighborhoods watching people throw away their lives. I felt like we shouldn’t have been there. An intruder gawking at destroyed lives that needed help.
In all of that Shannon and I totally missed one of our water stops too. So, it was a long journey to the 10 mile water stop. Needless to say we took a little time and enjoyed it =). Running 20 miles is not a hard feat if your trained right. And as Shannon rightly noted, if it weren’t for the mental aspect and dealing with weather conditions everyone would do it. This discussion had started because we noticed the weather was changing. It had cooled quite a bit and was getting very wind and overcast (a cold front was coming!!!), and Shannon’s iPod had died (it has external speakers!!! We had music on our run. It was very cool!). Neither of us really like the idea of playing word games to entertain ourselves. Frankly, I just don’t have the brain cells left to do it. So, instead we turned to critique the houses we were running past, which was hilarious! Have you ever really paid attention to the houses in Atlanta? There are so many different styles, some of which should not exist! It was a great source of amusement for the 8 miles we had left. Of course we had plenty of other things to pay attention to too. Some of the roads were really dangerous. No sidewalks and speeding cars. We had to make sure we were really paying attention. Sadly, the thing that caused us problems was a water meter cover on a side walk that caused Shannon to slightly twist her bad knee. She’s a trouper!! She never stopped or talked about quiting.
Lindsay coming into home base (she’s in the middle)
I don’t know at what point I started thinking about finishing. Who would be there? Would there be any pumpkin bread and chocolate milk left? Seriously, you have to have your priorities straight =). It’s all about food people! At one point I remember thinking I hope Jim is still there. See, Jim is married to our co-captain Carol (who is also totally awesome!). I forgot that Carol had lots of goodies waiting for us, but I was hoping I would get a big hug at the end. But first Shannon and I had to go down the final hill to the final water stop. We were so excited!!! Most of all because there were cups (it’s the little things! And Fontaine you totally rock!). We stayed for a few minutes and talked, and then the ran the last glorious mile home!! We were such a sad sight when we started running again. The bad things about stopping even for just a few minutes was that we had both gotten stiff. It didn’t stop us!! And then all of a sudden we were back. Mary our staff coordinator was jumping for joy and Jim was waiting with a big hug. Between Jim and Shannon I got exactly what I had needed yesterday. I hung out until everyone was back. My mentee Lindsay ran the longest she has ever run period. I was so proud of her. And then 20 minutes later it started to pour! What a day. In the end it felt really good. Thinking back I still get a little teary eyed at it all. Now it’s time to taper to the race!!
Some of our team who completed 12 or 20 miles
(it started pouring shortly after this =))
Only 3 more week!
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