Okay, this is actually supposed to be a report on the 2007 running of the Towpath Train'ing Run, but a story seemed like the best way to start =) That actually did happen while John Grieco and I were running along, so John gets credit for a good deed to cancel out all the bad ones that I'm sure he's been doing ;)
But anyway, I started my day after 3 hours of sleep to meet Ken Mangin at Johnson Park, since he was driving Bill and I to Trenton, being the good (or absolutely insane) soul that he is. As I'm entering the park, I see someone whom I presumed to be Bill (never met him before), as well as a police officer in the Grove 5 lot. He's shining his light at Bill's plates, and then at me as I pull in. I was apprehensive, but turns out he was a nice guy and didn't give us any trouble about the park being technically closed. Good thing he didn't know about all the beer in Bill's van, else he might not have believed me!
Bill tried to take a picture of us at the start of the towpath, but since it was only first light, and the camera had no flash, I'm sure Bill got a lovely photo of two suspicious looking silhouettes outside of the Salvation Army Rehab center ;) Not that Ken and I are suspicious looking or anything!
We got started in the warm and humid morning, with promise of more heat to come. We kept up a pretty good, steady pace for the first 12 miles while talking about everything from what toothpaste is made of to the effects that significant others have on distance running =) We met Ray at Kingston for gatorade, cookies, and pictures. Also made the mistake of thinking that we were running really fast and had run 2mi further than we really had (I'll make this mistake again later in the day). So Bill had to hurry to catch his ride back, and we headed out to Rocky Hill where other runners would be getting dropped off, and I'd leave Bill's company.
I got a head start on the other runners, knowing that I'd slow down during the day, and wanted to minimize the gap, so I spent much of the next 6mi or so alone, free to admire the morning scenery.
At 14 miles to go (I forget what road this is), I come in to find a large group ready to join the train, as well as John Grieco, who was my running buddy for almost the rest of the way home. As many of you probably know, I now live in VA and rarely get to come back to NJ to join the group for a run. The towpath run is the one time a year I get to see most people. So I hadn't seen John in a whole year-- that's a lot of stories and jokes to catch up on! Fortunately, I was pretty tired by this time and going pretty slowly, so we had plenty of time. The miles flew by like nothing, despite a lot of moaning and groaning from me =) At some point, the baby turtle incident that inspired the story above occurred, I can't remember when =P
John had to hurry on ahead to save the pasta sitting in his car from spoiling, so went on ahead when we reached S. Bound Brook. And here is where I made a big mistake of thinking that there was only 5mi to go, instead of the actual 7.5-8mi. I realized my mistake when I reached the 287 bridge and remember that *this* was 5mi to go! Oh no! I was pretty tired by this time, and it might've ended poorly for me if Mary Foley hadn't decided to come back for us stragglers and found me for the last 3miles home. And this is after she'd already biked 34+ miles! But we finally made it home to the sound of much applause (to my complete embarassment!) and the smell of delicious food!
So. I owe a lot of people thanks for helping me finish the whole distance a second time, despite some stomach problems and the heat! Ray, of course, for organizing another great year, and for convincing me to try the whole 34.1 in the first place back in '05 =) Ken, for driving Bill and I, at a god-forsaken hour of the day, all for the sake of a handful of cookies! John, for keeping me company for so long, especially at such a slow pace, and listening to me complain about how tired I was. And Mary, for helping me to seal the deal at the very end, and dragging my sorry rear end into Johnson Park.
And everyone at the water stops, thank you! The gatorade in my camelbak was body temp by about 6:30am, so the cool drinks were amazing. The cheerful faces and encouragement was always a huge boost too =)
I'll be back for the Turkey Swamp race day in August, so hopefully I'll see some RVRR folks there! Otherwise, happy running, till next year!
P.S. I am making some of the weirdest faces ever in some of those pictures. Please ignore. Or at least please don't use them to blackmail me. I swear I'm not really a slack-jawed yokel in real life =)