Nashville or Bust

The trip that started a longer journey

It Was a Good Run

Yesterday was supposed to be my second half marathon race. After getting bit by the running bug last fall and committing to it on January 1 of this year, I think I can finally say I’m a runner.

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Perhaps, having to opt out of a race that I really wanted to run proves it: Me. A runner.

BUT — this isn’t a post about me being sad. You see, I had some really great experiences getting ready for the race I didn’t run — and so many of them were in this last week.

First, these women are very important to me and running with them has cemented the love for them I have in my heart. Some of them I’ve known for 15+ years — others I’ve recently been able to meet and come to know over miles, coffee, and wonderful talks on courses filled with sunshine, rain (snow!) — happy highs and painful strains. Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 9.23.06 AMScreen Shot 2013-10-20 at 9.18.21 AM

 

Coming off our inaugural personal and group victory of completing our first half together in May, we have managed to stay together although our running patterns have shifted a bit.

 

 

 

 

From this group of five, Lisa and I decided to press on and do a fall race. Ironically, Lisa was the one in the group whom I just now had the opportunity to meet and get to know this year. Perhaps it was the Universe’s way of letting me know I had room in my heart and world for another really good friend.

Summer training was a bit difficult to coordinate. We didn’t really start off with a together plan. In fact, I was the one who was academic in the beginning — consulting charts, websites, books — looking for a good way to come off of one race and train for another. I plotted a 16-week plan and started on July 2. The Firecracker 5k just happened to fall into that first week. It all looked pretty darned good. I was determined to make it happen. I had a plan. What could go wrong?

One of our post run coffee selfies. Summer 2013.

One of our post run coffee selfies. Summer 2013.

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Summer vacations and whims had us running at different times, but the group gathered here and there as we were able. The group dynamic really helped Lisa and I as we rounded into the longer runs and earlier call times during the week. Let me just say, the early morning light of June has always been my favorite. I really miss it. Running in the dark of pre-dawn is, well, DARK!

5:20 a.m. stretching and getting ready to meet the girls.

5:20 a.m. stretching and getting ready to meet the girls.

 

We love running bridges on long, Saturday treks.

We love running bridges on long, Saturday treks.

Watching a city wake up is something we all love to do.

Watching a city wake up is something we all love to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I first started to feel the little ache in my left ankle, I thought it was something I could work through. I actually did work through it a bit. I’d start running and feel a little discomfort — realize that a few miles in it wasn’t so bad — and keep running. Uh… that’s not always a good thing to do.

Last Saturday was our last long run during training. It was a 6+-mile loop starting and stopping at a favorite coffee haven in Newport. Lisa and I started off together but the ankle just didn’t want to play nice. As I slowed down, I was grateful that others in our wonderful Step Sister squad were jumping in at different times to run a bit of the distance with us. I encouraged Lisa, now running with Andi, to keep on. I’d get to the endpoint. At some point.

At mile 5, I had to stop. I knew I was done. So I started walking back from Cincinnati into Newport. I figured I would get there as they were wrapping up with coffee and chatter. I was upset and very disappointed. My times were good — I was so looking forward to bibbing up and chipping up with Lisa and the other runners. Every step from Sawyer Point to the Purple People Bridge hurt. I wasn’t looking up — just down at my shoes and my ankle. I sent a text letting everyone know I’d be late and to carry on.

Waiting for me on the bridge was Lisa. You see, one thing that has come from this group is even though we respect each other’s paces and distance needs, we never leave anyone behind. In traditional Lisa style, she had a sweet smile on her face. Together we walked the final blocks.

Impromptu ice bag from running belt. Not the selfie I wanted to snap over coffee a week from the race.

Impromptu ice bag from running belt. Not the selfie I wanted to snap over coffee a week from the race.

I nursed the ankle and did everything I could to be ready for the race. But it wasn’t going to happen. On Wednesday, I made a call realizing that I was going to leave Lisa to run this one on her own.

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So why am I so happy? Why did I say this was a good run? Because it WAS. Instead of sitting back and feeling sorry for myself, I opened up the situation and you know what? Something cool really happened.

Enter Laura.

Laura, another runner and dear friend of Lisa, made a decision to travel several hours from her home town and run the race with Lisa after hearing of my plight. Her interjection did two things. It kept me from being stupid and trying to run the race on an injury and doing more damage to myself. It also provided support and friendship on the course for Lisa. Yes, Lisa could have easily run this one on her own — she’s a strong and determined lady. But, we’ve become used to sharing the road with others. Thirteen miles can be a long span when there’s no one next to you who understands your inside jokes and glee at seeing a porta-potty in the distance.

Having fun at mile 5.

Having fun at mile 5.

Despite the rain that settled in, they had a great run on the course. Their times were awesome and they finished so strong and easy. I got to be their pit crew and share in their moments along with others from our Step Sister team. And, in all of this, I got to meet a wonderful, warm person who is going to run the next big one with us in the spring.

Breezing over the finish like nobody's business.

Breezing over the finish like nobody’s business.

Bling and beer at the finish. Good times to be shared with a Step Sister!

Bling and beer at the finish. Good times to be shared with a Step Sister!

 

We wrapped this one with another cup at Carabello Coffee in Newport and a little donation to Girls on the Run. Soaked and chilled, we embraced the moment and made the best of it — for ourselves, each other, and people we hadn’t met yet but were connected to via shoelaces and sisterhood.

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Yes, it definitely was a good run and I wouldn’t have it any other way. ~ Jacqui

 

 

October 20, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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