Saturday, October 27, 2012

Alabama Relief Run, 1 Year Removed

Much to my surprise, it's been a full year since I embarked upon the Alabama Relief Run, which has arguably been my most ambitious run to date.  Given that I've had a while to digest what all happened, it seemed like a good idea to take some time to reminisce...

Early smiles...
I must admit that, although I realized that certain aspects of such a run could not possibly be foreseen, the extent of my ignorance prior to the start impresses me still (of course, truth be told, I'm reminded of the extent of my ignorance with respect to many aspects of life other than running on a regular and frequent basis...)

Once things got underway, everything went as smoothly as could be expected for the first few days; weather was almost perfect, the ol' legs held up pretty well, and the crew even seemed to be enjoying themselves.  After a bit of a scare on morning 5, things went relatively smoothly again until the finish.  A year removed, my achilles tendon is still tight, and I haven't really had the internal motivation required for serious training (dang, I miss running fast in races...), but looking at the experience and what we were running for, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Of course, the question is still ever-present:  What's next?

The best part of the answer is that I don't know.  I don't know where the running will lead me next.  I don't know if it will be some epically long jaunt.  I don't know if I'll ever match what I did last October.

But finding out should be fun...

For those interested enough to scroll through, a few candid moments from the run:

Tony and me at the beach just before starting (Note the "I'm so nervous I want to cry" smile...)

Dannie makes a pb&j that's hard to beat

Day 2:  Good times

I love this picture; it seems to illustrate the determination.  If there's something that Peter and I both have our minds set on doing, I dare anyone to try to stop us.  (Also, I pose the question here, who's feeling more protective of whom?)
Really, I feel great... and who knew that Grove Hill was on top of a big freakin' hill?!?!

Pounding out the miles late in the day. Tony and Dannie were the perfect crew for the task
Early morning, Day 4.  Beautiful rural Alabama Roads

A deep moment.

I didn't know this picture was being taken; this is the toll it takes.  4 days. 201 miles. A chink in the armor.

Feeling better after a rough morning.  Day 5.
Started with the lowest of lows.  Ended with the highest of highs.
Why we run.

Mataddy:  Ancient Hawaiian legend.  If you want to know more about it, ask; I'd be glad to expound upon the subject

Feet hurt.  Knees sore.  Body and mind exhausted.  I love this stuff.

An unexpected duty:  keeping the interwebs up to date on our plodding progress
Treated to lunch at Aroma's Cafe in historic Winfield, AL

Late start in the rain, but still living it up and running at blazing speeds


Workers from the Wrangler plant in Hackleburg came out to say hi.  Again, these folks are the reason this run occurred, and I was honored to get to talk with them and amazed at their resiliency
Talking with the people of Phil Campbell, AL, a town that was devastated by the storms and got half of the proceeds of the ARR

The mighty Austin XC Team joined for a few miles

I still think this is just a cool picture
Always a good day when my Darling Baby Sister shows up
Fun times on Day 9 for those who survive the battle of attrition

A great reception in Decatur with friends from all over

Getting my Forest Gump on...
I can see the finish...

No words needed.
Perhaps my favorite picture.  Dannie and Tony were the best crew I could have asked for.  The ARR Would have never worked without them, and this picture, in my mind, sums up how it worked.