Saturday, August 28, 2010

15 in 15 Run - Day 11 - Richmond to Charlottesville (Leg 2)

We started the morning in Goochland, VA, approximately where we left off the previous day. I thought when we passed the Maidens intersection,  I saw a guy who looked like he might be waiting for me to run with him. But when we turned around to check, he was gone. Oh well, I thought - looks like I'll be running by myself today. I got maybe 1/3 of a mile down the road when all of a sudden a runner comes up beside me - "Are you the lady who's running 15 marathons?" Yes! What a welcome surprise.

Curtis is 63 and an experienced runner. He had run the Richmond marathon several times back in the eighties when it started at noon on Sunday. While he raced a lot now, he hasn't run a marathon in years. I think I might have convinced him to give it another shot. The miles clicked off pretty rapidly, in fact, we were probably did several sub 11min miles, but I felt good and we were talking "shop." It turns out that our race paces are pretty similar. What really inspired me is when he started talking about his 85 year old mother, who recently finished a 10k as a fundraiser. She is the "retired" organist for her church, the town historian, and the matriarch every one calls when they need something done, because she's the one with the energy. Curtis was feeling pretty good too, and ended up running 10.5 miles with me. He kept saying George's Tavern was just over the next hill. Liar! But it did make the miles go by faster. As we were really coming up on George's Tavern, a friend of Curtis drives by. He pulls over, just happens to have his running gear in his car, and gets out to take over.

John was an interesting character. He had met Curtis in boot camp, and had served in Vietnam. He was a wealth of stories. Once, while in Vietnam, he was in the middle of a huge explosion (I think he said something like 68,000 tons). He cried out to God, told him to get down there and do something, but felt like God was nowhere to be found. 40 years later, he discovers a letter written to his family commending him for his service - there were no casualties, no one died, everyone escaped and no one got hurt. He thought for 40 years that God hadn't been there, but found out that indeed he was. John and I had an interesting run going. I would get ahead of him going up the hills, but would stop when we came up to the crew vehicle for a drink. John took that advantage to keep going and get ahead of me.Then I would run to catch up and we would talk for a while - it was great sport. At one spot, Curtis' mom shows up, just to say hi! What a special lady. John gave me a story to read about the day the world record for the mile was broken and how a neighborhood came together through running, which just goes to show the power of running and how it can  be a tool for making good things happen. John got me to Columbia, VA which was at about 17 miles. Now I only had 9 miles to go on the day.

The rest of the run was a series of long ups and downs. Before long, I was running on  Route 15 and walking the last half mile with my daughter by my side to finish the day with 26.23 more miles behind me. I felt strong today, almost like I had crossed a threshold, and felt empowered by the support of those who ran beside me, or were with me in spirit - sending up good thoughts and prayers throughout the day. I am truly overwhelmed by it all.


  1. It was my pleasure to have run with you. I will pass your kind words on to John and my Mother. You may have motivated me back to running that "one more marathon" with your inspiring story.

    I wish you smooth running and extra strength to carry you to Lynchburg. I alerted the Charlottesvile newspaper, Daily Progress, and the local run club, Charlottesville Track Club, of your efforts and arrival there Saturday. I hope some will join you. My prayers are with you and I will continue to monitor your progress. Only 3 more days after C'Ville. I think you may be disappointed to have to stop at "only" 15! You were certainly strong Friday. John did tell me you said I "pushed" you a little. I was trying to pace off you but think both of us were feeling pretty good with the cooler weather. Great fun.


  2. Everyday that I read your blog you almost have me in tears. It is such an inspiring and motivating act you are doing. I have been an avid cyclist for years and recently, just feel the need to run. I have taken to heart how important it is for me to finally lose the weight and quit worrying about the "foods" I will be missing, I a missing a lot more than food at my weight.

    Thank you, SuSu


  3. Oh I LOVE this one. Thanks Curtis and John for being there for SuSu and I hope you go out for another one Curtis! What a great day.