Busy, busy weekend and still cruising!
It seems like we've gone many many miles since my last update, and I suppose we have, but this has all been since yesterday. My what a day can bring! Yesterday morning we woke very early in Saginaw, MI after a brief 5 hour sleep to make it out for a 6am race start in Carrolton for their Charity Road Race Marathon. We made it in time, and Kirsten had her race face on too, as she had registered for the 20k. We got our numbers quickly, and were ready to go. In the flurry of last minute preparations, I bumped into a friend- Chuck Engle, who is doing 50 marathons this year at a mindboggling pace, and it was a great surprise to see him. We were off to the start in the dark, and the mosquitoes were so thick, I would've thought I was back in Mississippi! The course was a 5k out and back (so, a 1.5 mile stretch about 16 times), which I had been dreading since the Friday night 3.1 mile loop course, but it turned out to be great! Because this was out and back, I saw people the entire course, and was able to give/get encouragement throughout. Through the laps, I watched Kirsten as she ran smart through the 20k- staying back and conserving energy, and then moving into 2nd place in her second to last lap, and then cruising to catch the leader when I saw her smoking in to her finish. She ended up being the overall women's winner, which was incredible! I just kept plugging away at my loops, yelling back and forth each time to Chuck who was in the leaders' group, and other folks all along the way. With 2 loops to go, I still felt incredibly fresh, so clicked my pace down a bit and cooked through the last 6 miles under a 6:30 pace to finish with another PR for the 50 thus far- 3:31! Felt great, met some wonderful folks after the race from the area, and we were off to take a very brief nap before we had to get back on the ball. We ate a quick lunch and were off to the airport, where our flight to Detroit was delayed, but we eventually got there, and though we missed our flight back to NYC, we were able to get on another one a bit later, though that one too, got delayed. Despite all that though, we did actually make it back to LaGuardia that night before midnight, picked up our car, and were on our way to Vermont just before midnight. Though we could hardly believe it, even at midnight on a Sunday traffic in New York was phenomenal! But with my dad at the wheel, we cruised straight up to Vermont and rolled into Stowe at 5:45am this morning. With a scheduled 7am start where we were to meet folks, this made sleep a non-option, so we just had a few cups of coffee, and were off tho the start. We were a bit late starting, and just missed Tim and Dawn from Fleet Feet in Burlington, but Kirsten and I went off into the cool morning air for a great start to the day. The scenery was absolutely incredible, and the weather ideal. After about 4 miles, we bumped into Tim and Dawn, and Tim jumped in to run with us. Then Woody and Jan appeared on their bikes, and we really had a great crowd! A friend from home in Vicksburg who we amazingly just saw in Cincinnatti- Erin Croom pulled up around mile 8, and her fiance Byron jumped in to run just in time to join me for the one major hill of the course. We cruised up a good sized hill with the Trapp Family Lodge (from Sound of Music) sitting at the top. The miles just kept clicking by, and it was so great to have such fun folks to run with and riding along with me. A news crew from Burlington started following us for the last 10 miles or so, and the crowd drew in a few more local cyclists, and toward the end Tim and his son Sean jumped in to finish up with me. We cruised on in, and finished up right back where we started, with a fun little climb right to the finish. At the finish, there was an incredible crowd there cheering- probably 30 people or so! It was absolutely incredible! A group of 8 great friends had come up from Weston, VT to see me and cheer, and I met them for the first time some months ago when they came down to Bay St. Louis to do volunteer work through the church. They were such incredible workers, and had such amazing spirits and drives I had nicknamed them the "SWAT" team of volunteers from Vermont. After talking with the news crews a bit and doing my best to catch up quickly with everyone there, we went down the road a bit to a swimming hole that Byron and Erin knew of. We all walked down to water, which was gorgeous, and eventually found a safe way to get all the way down to the water to get in. The water was frigid, and worked perfectly as a natural ice bath. I sat in for my alotted 15 minutes while Byron, Erin, and Kirsten frolicked in the water. Then we were off again, back for a quick shower, etc., then to lunch with the Vermont SWAT team at a local pizza place, which really hit the spot. Great food, great conversation, and great fun- if only Vermont were a little closer to Mississippi! The four of us (me, Kirsten, my mom and dad) all began to have very heavy eyes as our food settled, so we figured we'd better get on the road. We said goodbye and were on the road again on our way to Bristol, NH. We made a minor detour for our very first semi-sightseeing side tour of this trip on my request. We went to Hanover, NH to stop at the Ben and Jerry's scoop shop for a little ice cream pick-up, and I was also able to show the crew the Appalachian Trail, which actually runs right through town there, and I have very fond memories of being there. Onward we went to Bristol, and we're now here safely, though actually stayin in Plymouth, and after a great dinner, looking forward to a much needed night's rest in a bed tonight! Thank you all for your continued support and prayers- I know they carried us through this weekend!