Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Running Blind

The Baldwin Trail was not as I remembered. Three weeks ago a brilliant moon lit the path that would lead me to my first marathon distance run. Turning into the parking lot at 4:30am Saturday, October 28, the trail was dark and lifeless. Thick clouds from a slow moving cold front hid the moon and stars. Moderate rain showers during the early morning hours dampened my mood. I did not have much interest in running 23 miles.

No Excuses.

A small group of Galloway runners gathered in the cold blackness. Light drizzle mixed with a swirling wind that sent a shudder through several of us.
I took a few large gulps from my endurance drink and at 5:10 began the run with Chris, Brad, and Loretta.
The darkness enveloped us. We were running without lights and it became a struggle to stay on the path. I burned more energy trying to focus than I did running.
Jonathan caught up with our diminished group between mile three and four (Tim and Donna were out of town and Phil was working the Florida/Georgia Football game). After twenty minutes of stumblerunning Brad had to peel off and head back to the parking lot. The mood was somber (compared to many of our runs) and I felt like crap. We ran five minutes and walked for one minute, ran five and walked one...
Mile 4.5 and then mile 5. Mile 5.5 and then mile 6. Mile 6.5...

No Excuses.

The early morning sky offered no light for nearly two hours.
We ran 11.5 miles in conditions that would not improve until we turned back home.
The turn home!
Every runner knows how good it feels to be fifty-one percent done.
After 7:00am the Baldwin Trail became manageable.
Darkness gave way to light.
Humidity evaporated.
Temperatures remained cool.
You wouldn’t imagine the final 11.5 miles to be easier than the first 11.5 miles but in many ways it was.

We finished running twenty-three miles at 9:00am. Four hours of running, walking, and trying our best not to step on any rattle snakes.
It was difficult but I’m glad I did not miss it.
Chris gets HUGE props for handling the run. He has done a great job with this program from the outset but Saturday was especially tough. I’m certain Donna is grateful for all of his (and Amanda's) efforts. Phil also deserves props for helping Chris get the coolers out onto the course the night before.

November 18, we’re back out on the trail for our final long run – 26 miles!
My fundraising is stuck at the halfway mark.
I know some of you are still planning to donate.
My recommendation –
Send it now. Don’t wait.

Thanks again for your support!

Make checks payable to:
The Donna Hicken Foundation

Mail to:
The Kurtis Group
425 8th ave. n.
Jacksonville beac,
FL 32250

No comments: