During the past 30 days, there have been good mornings, and there have been not so good mornings. Today was not one of the good mornings. This nagging head cold of mine evolved into full body aches this morning for some reason. Thirty marathons hasn’t left me all that sore, but a measly little virus wreaked havoc on my muscle and joints in less than 24-hours.
On top of not feeling great, we had another blood draw this morning. So by the time I got to the starting line (and we got lost on the way to boot), I was somewhat of a mess. There was a hole in my arm, anda dull pain in just about every bone in my body. It’s not the way you want to greet 23 spirited runners and embark on a marathon.
But once we got going and started to talking, I almost immediately began to feel better. Instead of dwelling on my ailments, I immersed myself in the stories the other runners had to share. There were many familiar faces in the group today, too. A team of two great guys who had run with me the past three marathons were there. Another who had run with me in Boston was running with us again today. And a wonderful couple who are running sixconsecutive marathons with me (this was number four) was bright and cheery. There was a Brazilian runner in the group, and a number of few first-time marathoners, one a high school cross-country runner that wasn’t sure if he was going to go the entire distance.
The course was challenging, but scenic. We ran through the hills of Maine, the fall colors in full blaze, along the Atlantic seafront, through quaint little towns, and past lush green meadows that stretched merrily beyond view. The day started out sunny, but as things progressed the skies clouded in advance of a weather system that’s sweeping across the eastern seaboard.
Support along the course today was superb. It seemed like we had people cheering and offering food and water around every corner. We hung together as group for most of the first half, then spread out a bit for the trip back home. It might have been just me, but the return journey seemed rough. The hills seemed steeper, and the flat sections seemed deceptively short lived. The entire group toughed it out though, and the first-time marathoners held remarkably strong, including the high schooler who ended up running the whole 26.2 miles.
When we arrived at the finish line, the street was lined with applauding supporters. In the crowd was theentire class of Whitefield Elementary School, who had ridden in a bus for two hours to get here. It was a great reception for a group of runners that had worked extremely hard to cross that finish line.
This was perhaps the most challenging marathon thus far. It wasn’t due to the course or the weather, but to the way I felt. What got me through it? That’s easy, the inspiration of all the terrific kindred spirits that carried me along today in their footsteps. The credit belongs to the other runners; I was just along for the ride, and loving every moment of it.
The nasty cold front that’s heading our way tonight is no match for the warm smiles I left today in Maine. Rain, bring it on! After what I witnessed today, I feel ready for just about anything.
Always the best,