I was nervous when I left the parking lot. It was extremely dark with very few people out. The river is heavily wooded, and on this particular morning covered in mist. I felt like I was running through the mist of avalon. But I just but all of the worrisome thoughts of a dark, wooded park behind me and just ran. Before I knew it I was at the other end of the park and then at the turn around to head back up to the start. A friend of mine was planning to run 4 miles that morning too, so I had someone to run back to the start with. It turned out to be great because I probably would have wimped out and allowed myself to walk up the lone hill I had to run up. Instead I stayed steady and ran with Sally up the hill doing 6.2 miles in about 59 minutes the same as my last 10k race.
Instead of manning a water stop I got to be the course sweeper making sure everyone on the team ended up in the right place, that the water stops had what they needed, and help anyone who had problems. A couple of my mentees were nervous about the 10 mile run, which is very understandable. The sudden change of single digit miles to double digit miles in daunting. For me the nervousness sets in for the higher miles (think 18-20 miles), so I can understand what they're feeling. I watched them from my car as I drove around, and cheered them on. If I could have I would have gotten out of my car and run with them and cheering them on. I did do plenty of cheering from my car. Some struggled more than others, and that's when the doubt sets in, and that's when the coaches and mentors become so important. We made sure that everyone made it in, and that there was plenty of cheering for everyone. It's a huge accomplishment. It's humbling to watch, and I'm so proud of all of them. Training for a marathon, especially your first, is not easy. I remember. I was there last year, and just because this is my third doesn't mean that it isn't mentally and physically exhausting. However, I'm so excited about this marathon!! Watching the Tour de France has also been incredibly inspiring for me (I've been cross training on the stationary bike a lot this week while watching). We got our recommitment papers and Nike marathon applications this weekend!! I've already started filling it all out. I'm so excited!!!! There is something very special about this particular race and the training so far. I don't know exactly what it is. Maybe it's all of the new friends I have from this team (I've meet some amazing people!!!), or the fact that I've waited over 2 years to run this race, or the fact that my runs have been going so well. Or maybe it's all of those things and more.
A few Team in Training friends have passed this link around and I wanted to share it. It shows the progress of 5 team participants. I think it shows better than what I can describe what it means to be a part of Team in Training and fighting against cancer.