Day #40: 180 team miles
Moundsville, West Virginia – Hancock, Maryland
Running Partner: Katie
They are all in my thoughts and prayers as I run today and indefinitely. It’s horrific how many people have or have had cancer. And the sheer number of people who are affected besides the patients themselves: family, friends, neighbors, students, and so forth. The entire community is affected which is why programs like the 4K or Relay for Life that bring people together in support are so necessary. One of the neatest parts of the 4K has been having people share with me their own stories of how they have been affected by cancer; even people I have known for some time but never before saw an opportunity or felt comfortable to share. Cancer can be very hard to talk about and a very painful experience that affects different people in different ways. It can also be something that when shared is less of a burden on one’s heart. ❤
Today Katie and I were paired together for the first time! It only took 40 days for us to be running buddies. 😛 Our first leg started in West Virginia and at some unmarked point turned into Pennsylvania. (Note: I love Pennsylvania!!! My birth state!!!) It was very flat and had a nice wide shoulder which we greatly appreciated. We were on team two but team one was running the same portion of this road so Danielle and Mae were running simultaneously. We passed by a huge yard full of tires (literally!) and through a cute little town called Triadelphia. (What a fun name. 🙂 However, the nice shoulders ended abruptly and we ran into construction forcing us to pick up two of the teams before they had finished their first 3 mile leg. We then regrouped and decided to head to some trails for safety. So the next portion of our run was in West Virginia in a park called “New Germany.” In New Germany there were a number of different trails of varying lengths and they were even rated by difficulty level for us. Though we tried to follow the purple trail we weren’t sure exactly how but we ended up doing some kind of weird crossover loop that included a pretty long incline in the grass. 😛 We ran 6.5 more miles there to make it 9.5 and then I walked 1.6 with some of the injured people (just for fun) and made it a 11.1 mile day. The trails were absolutely beautiful and very peaceful despite being slightly confusing! They went through a beautiful forest and were very green. There was also a lake right by the parking lot that was very lovely but was slightly too cold to be tempting enough to jump into. When everyone had finished their miles we headed to the host!
We are staying at the Hancock United Methodist Church in Hancock, Maryland. One of our teammates, Christina, arranged this through her great aunt so thanks to her for doing that! Several church ladies greeted us and took great care of us! They made us a delicious meal and directed us to a nearby pool that allowed us to take showers…well half of us. It had turned out that van 2 ran over some debris on the road which had punctured the van’s gas tank. Gas and oil proceeded to leak all over the highway and they had to pull over and call the police for help. Eventually they got the van towed and all the bags and food and people from both vans stuffed into one and they made it to the host – but it wasn’t easy! And we had to say goodbye to ole van 2. 😦 The important thing here being that everyone is safe and sound and we’ll be fine with three vans for the last two days.
This evening we practiced our team cheer (which we do every morning before we have our dedication circle) and wrote in each other’s journals. Tomorrow’s the day we read them before running into Baltimore on Saturday. It’s crazy the end is so near! But it’s been 40 days and though it will be bittersweet we are all excited to run up Federal Hill and be able to say we ran across America! A fun fact we can use in get to know you games for the rest of our lives. 😛 And though this journey may be coming to an end I’m sure it will be the spark of many more adventures and but one chapter in each of our lives. Not to mention the fact that we will always have many lifelong friends/running buddies/people to visit all over the country and when Kenzie goes to El Salvador with the Peace Corps. – the world! 4K will always be a part of who we are from here on out. 🙂
Finally, I thought I would share an amazingly inspirational bit that was shared with me by a teammate. A guy named Ben submitted an entry to the Runner’s World Magazine Cover Picture Contest: http://covercontest.runnersworld.com/entry/1264/dsh1lgsbah7crrmbvj6fc4o4c0
In his entry he said: “Most people would think my biggest accomplishment is just the simple feat of running again after having my leg amputated due to cancer at 6, but it isn’t. I am a runner, so nothing is going to stop me from running. My biggest accomplishment is running an 8:15 mile after my leg amputation. I couldn’t even run an 8:15 mile before my amputation so the fact that my amputation hasn’t held me back and I am now faster than before is a huge deal for me.”
What an inspiration! 🙂 Hope everyone is well!!!