Sunday, July 20, 2008

Old Friends

Saturday morning's Team in Training run started at 6:25 a.m. I'm still running with the marathon group, of which there were nine runners yesterday. I paired off with Margie, one of the twenty-somethings I told you about a few weeks ago.

The weather was better than the previous Saturday. The temperature was about 69 degrees, or four degrees cooler, and dewpoint was about 67 degrees. I had mentally prepared myself to run the grueling but beautiful Percy Warner Park loop. Instead, we headed away from the park through Belle Meade and Forest Hills. The course was fairly flat, with several rolling hills. Some of the marathoners (Jessica and Mark) went 12 miles; Margie and I decided to run 10.2.

The first eight miles went smoothly. We needed every drop of water and I gel'd (Vanilla Bean) at mile seven. At that point, I was drenched down to my shoes and socks (more on that later). At the last water stop, Margie, who is doing a great job fundraising, said she had never run "double digits." She was recovering from an injury, so she missed last week's run. You'd have never known it. She ran strong the whole way.

At 8.0, as we left the shade and the sun started its smackdown, I told Margie she should go. Up to that point, we had run mostly 9:30s and 9:45s. She pulled ahead, but I kept up a manageable pace as we ascended the most serious hill of the run. The pain up the hill was easy to fight back. All I had to do was think of Ann fighting at M.D. Anderson in Houston.

At this point, Margie and I were passing some of the half marathoners who were walking or walking and running. After conquering the most difficult hill of the run, we were treated to a slightly downhill ending. My pace quickened again. My feet were so wet that one person I passed remarked later how squishy I sounded. I didn't catch up to Margie, but was very pleased with the run. I'm injury free, knock on wood, and feeling stronger. Total mileage this week: 25 miles.

There was no rest for the weary after the run. Five of Dori's sorority sisters, their husbands and children were coming over. I fired up the smoker (menu of "beer butt chicken" and Memphis-style sausage), while Dori prepared some healthy salads (couscous/chick peas and black bean/corn) and other goodies. Dori made her famous whiskey slushes (not the kind you get at the 7-11), and we had plenty of other adult beverages. We hooked up the iPod and had chalk and water games for the kids.

We had a great time. The best part was watching Dori and the girls reminisce. Since the kids were active, the conversation was usually shorter than we would have liked. One parent who had some "kid challenges" said she shouldn't be complaining at all after what Dori's been through. Her good friend, Liz, sweetly headed up the cleaning crew to take some of the load off our girl. After four-plus hours of steady fun, the families walked down our adolescent art-filled driveway.

Dori later said she's so thankful to be alive to be able to have these times. We're a family of tired pups today, but not one of us is moping about it.

1 comment:

pj said...

Life is sweet.