Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Team For Better or For Worse

Another early Saturday morning brought another run to our feet. Porter Ranch welcomed us back with an ornery grin, and warmer temperatures. This run would take a shift for the better though – keeping consistent with our alternating weeks of long runs and short runs, we would be running a swift 6 miles today.

I started out my run with a moderate pace keeping with the lead pace group. The hills resonated deja vu with me and I could taste the essence of my previous tribulations through these hills. My reminiscent wander did not last long as I yanked myself back into my run - I was nearing the bottom of the hill and needed to prepare for some climbing.

The hill was as I remembered it, steep and long. I got about half way up when I got the word that Jamie was in some pretty severe pain. I knew this was big. I searched the horizon for her, and as soon as my eyes recognized her tiny blip I diverted my run towards her. When I reached her I could tell she was hurting. She has been going at these hills with a vengeance since her return back, and it has been taking its toll on her. She is a strong runner, but throw anyone straight into nonstop hill runs and they’re going to feel pain after a while.

I walked with Jamie from about mile one to mile three, and enjoyed the quiet time we had together. We bursted in to running spells when the geography permitted, but for the most part we hit a pretty aggressive walk.

When we hit mile three, we said our goodbyes and my feet sprung into action. From this point forward I was set to climb a mile-long hill. My mind and body were primed, and I was ready to wreak some havoc on this hill. My pace was fierce as my feet relentlessly consumed elevation. When I hit the top I simultaneously caught up with some fellow teammates. I shared a walk break with them and then took off down the backside of the hill.

It was not long before I was in the final stretch to the finish line. As I cruised in I saw Jamie heading out to finish up her nine miles… now that’s dedication!! At the finish line I took a breather and devoured some Gatorade and carbs. It was then right back out to catch up to Jamie.

The heat was moving in pretty bullishly and I could not run fast enough to escape it. As I ran my eyes continuously scanned the roadside for Jamie’s profile. At each turn I was expecting to see her, but NOTHING. My eagerness turned to worry as I rounded the last bend and didn’t see her. I slowed to a walk and really focused ahead, nothing but road signs, poles and… WAIT!.. what’s that??.. it’s?.. it’s?.. it’s Jamie!!! On her return back to the finish line! WEW!!

We walked back to the finish line with me constantly lagging behind her - her pace was much to fast for my weary legs. Our coach Brett came and met up with us to bring in the last leg. He offered to have Susan bring the car around to pick us up, and was met with savage ‘NO!!!’ from the both of us.

At the finish line we were greeted with clapping and cheering from our dedicated teammates. I could tell Jamie felt good about her accomplishment, and so did I.

Later that day we met up with some of our teammates at the Children’s Hospital to spread a little cheer. We visited the cancer ward and brought with us gifts, love and a little conversation. Our visit there was not one of ease. Seeing these young soles stricken with such a horrible disease was heart wrenching. As we entered each room the parent’s faces told the stories we dare not ask about. The children were SO grateful, and expressed it with what limited energy they had. My eyes could not help but show what I was feeling inside... yeah I admit it, I got a little misty... SO!! This experience has rocked me to my core and I will carry it with me as I finish out my training and complete this marathon. We ARE doing some good!!

Try and keep up with me!!

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