Saturday, August 21, 2010

15 in 15 Run - Day 3 (Aug 19) Trinity UMC to Chantilly

The day started off with a special blessing. Dr. Jeremy Busch, a chiropractor in Front Royal, had seen my post about my run and offered for his office to give me a massage and some dynamic stretching. It was wonderful and got me motivated for the day's run. He also sent me a link with some visualizations I can practice while running which would help with the Chi running technique, plus gave me a contact for Fredericksburg and Richmond. What a blessing! In typical Jennings fashion, we got a late start and left Trinity United Methodist Church in Paris, VA about 11:40am. That meant I would be running mostly in the heat of the day.The road began with a gentle downhill slope as I came off the mountain. Today I would spend the entire day on Route 50. The first few miles of the trip weren't bad. There was good shoulder, not too much traffic, and gently rolling hills. At one point, I had to go through a construction zone. They were taking a tree down, and right as I ran by, they dropped a good sized limb.

Unlike yesterday with the pouring rain, it was sunny and heating up fast. And although I started at about 800 ft and dropped down to 300 ft, the road was more uphill than down. I would run up, up, up, down, up, up, up, down. Upperville has these fancy stone shoulders that look nice, but don't really help runners because they are too narrow. At least they had a sidewalk in the middle of town. Between Upperville and Middleburg the hills seemed to get longer and longer. Finally, at about the halfway point we reached the middle of Middleburg. My crew was doing a great job of keeping me sprayed off and my bottle full of ice water. I told Reba to make me drink even if I didn't want to. At Middleburg, she left and Steve and Lindsey became my sole crew.

The next section of the road was horrible. Now we were into the afternoon rush hour traffic, about the same time as the shoulder of the highway became almost nonexistent. And I was still going up. Traffic was whizzing by at 70 mph, and even if there were no cars in the opposite lane, they wouldn't move over one inch, zooming by so close that I almost lost my hat a couple of times. I kept having to jump in the ditch to get out of the way. I began  having a little pity party for myself "I'm hot, this is too hard, I hate this road, I want to quit" Then I gave myself a little lecture. "Listen to yourself. You're so focused on you and your misery that all you are doing is making yourself more miserable. Take your eyes off of yourself for a minute and think about why you are doing this, and the people who are supporting you. Run with endurance, the race set before you."

When I got my mental attitude in the right place I was able to focus more on getting the day done. In Aldie, we stopped at the Aldie General Store and they let me use the bathroom. Then it was the last push to the finish. The best part of the trip is when I went down by the Aldie Mill and ran across the foot bridge over the creek. Shaded, no cars -  Ah!

The next challenge was the three round-abouts. I had to figure out how to negotiate around them and the traffic that was merging in and out. Plus they didn't build shoulders, they put in curbs instead. I was so focused on avoiding getting hit by a car, that I missed where Steve and Lindsey were waiting for me. Soon I was on the four lane highway. I had good shoulder for a while, but then they decided to put curbs there too!

When I hit 25.5 miles, Steve said I was 1.7 miles from the church. I told him I would go another mile and see how I felt. This mile ended at the top of a hill and I could see where the church was. "I'm going all the way." I said, and ran down the hill and into the church parking lot, where I was greeted by Leroy Jackson who was our host for the evening. He and his wife, Jane, fed us a wonderful dinner and we had a great time catching up over the past 15 years since we had seen them.

Today was a tough day mentally. The traffic bearing down on me just made it really hard to focus. But I learned when we take our eyes off of our self and focus on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, he gives us the strength to keep going.

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