Now that spring has officially sprung, I'm taking advantage of every minute of it. I officially passed the 460-mile mark in my 2,010 in 2010 Challenge - putting in 46.8 miles on the bike (in two separate rides) and 12 miles of running over the weekend.
Phew! My body's calling for rest day. And I think I'll listen.
All of those miles mean I have plenty of blog posts floating around in my head. I can let my mind wander to all sorts of places while on the road and have plenty of experiences to share. As soon as I have some time, I'll try to post them...
... for now, I'll share just a few random snip-its.
TNT TEAM PIC
This is obviously an old pic, based on the way we're bundled up before our run, but I wanted to share a pic of the current Team In Training team.
It was actually taken on our first day of practice - way back in February. (That's me in the ridiculously bright, Ronald McDonald colors!) This was back when we didn't know each other and most of them couldn't run more than a few miles.
Things sure do change in just seven short weeks. Now, the marathoners are running double-digit miles on a challenging course, and everyone is steps closer to their race day.
They're an awesome bunch - fun, hard-working and helpful. Officially, I'm a "mentor" for the team. That means, I'm there to help when I can, answer questions and just be there to support them.
But sometimes I honestly feel that they help me as much as I help them.
They help me stay focused and motivated - even when I don't want to get out of bed early on a Saturday morning. They help me stay grounded. They help the miles pass quickly with stories and jokes along the way.
The latest team run had us slated for 12 miles for the marathoners and 6 or so for the half-marathoners. Coach Geno has us running a tough course - with a significant part of it uphill. It's challenging - just ask my morning-after body - but it will undoubtedly prepare the team for any upcoming race they have.
I DIDN'T KNOW I HAD THOSE MUSCLES
Speaking of race preparation and overall good team things, I should mention the spectacular stretching clinic that one of our teammates (a massage therapist and yoga instructor) gave before Saturday's run.
She helped us stretch running-specific muscles in ways that most of us - based on the moans and groans from the group - had never experienced. She taught us how to do "planks" as a way to strengthen our core muscles. (Who know a minute could seem that long?!)
I hope to incorporate her tips and maneuvers into a routine to keep me limber and strong.
One of the things that sometimes gets lost during the height of TnT training is the mission. Sometimes we get so focused on the miles that we actually forget that the efforts of our training athletes are raising money for an important cause.
Kudos to Coach Geno and to the team for not letting the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society get brushed aside. Each week, teammates are welcome to share a dedication - a story about how they personally have been affected by cancer.
I was skeptical at first. Would anyone really want to share some of their most personal moments with a group of relative strangers?
The first dedication was given by Garry, a fellow mentor, who shared his story of overcoming cancer in college. He shared with us images and stories of children in the hospital, young people who were quarantined while going through treatments. Despite all of that, Garry said, they just wanted to "be kids" - to laugh and have fun and to forget about the hospital around them.
Last week, a touching dedication was given by Jenny - a hard-working, determined athlete on a quest to run her first marathon. At Kick Off, Jenny shared with us that she had lost her husband to cancer four years ago. (I don't know exactly how old she is, but I'd imagine that she's not much younger than I am.)
It's eye-opening to think about how someone's life could be that dramatically different than my own. And sometimes I wonder why I have been lucky enough to avoid some of the pain and heartache I've heard others talk about. Really, I have no idea what she went through during her husband's illness and death. I've been wondering if she'd open up to share a dedication for her husband.
When a team email popped up from Jenny, I was prepared to hear her story. What she shared, however, were the stories and photos of two children she met in the cancer center while her husband underwent treatment. Both children lost their battle with cancer.
It may seem that these dedications would bring us down. Instead, I think it helps us to cherish that we can run and train - even when we might not want to and even when it might seem really hard.
Sometimes we should run just because we can.
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