Oh,The Places You’ll Go

Jess, Mark, Ali

Jess, Mark, Ali

Did you ever plan something and it doesn’t quite go as you expected it to AND/OR the outcome to turn out to be fabulous? Well, that is exactly what TEAM Mark found out on this perfect Saturday morning 19 mile run.

Ali met me at Suburban Station and we headed over to CIGNA to meet up with the rest of the crew. Jessica and Tyrrell were already there. Our original plan was to take a bus to the end of Wissahickon, run on the trail, and head back through Manayunk to Cigna. Tyrrell decided to throw a curveball at us and indeed a great one! She suggested that Ali, Jess, and I take a cab to Manayunk and then hit the Manayunk tow-path. Then, Tyrrell would meet us at Starbucks on our way back. The three of us lookedat eachother and, uh said, “Sure!”

And so the journey begins! We took a cab to the Starbucks in Manayunk. We walked across the street and started to walk on the trail. At this point, we weren’t quite sure if we were on the right path. But, as soon as we saw other bikers and runners, we took off running. And oh my GOSH!!! The towpath was unbelievably beautiful! The towpath was flat and wide enough for safe running for everyone. We ran out about 5.5 miles toward the end of Conshohocken. Here we took a seflie to show we were in fact on the towpath. We headed back to Starbucks to meet up with Tyrrell. Jess was responsible for communicating with Tyrrell. We eventualy hit Starbucks at the same time as Tyrrell – perfect timing! At this point, Ali, Jess, and I have ran 11 miles.

Tyrrell took over as my guide as we headed through Manayunk running on the sidewalk. Tyrrell did a great job manuevering me around objects on the sidewalk. Did I say I’m not a big fan of running on the sidewalk?! Thankfully, we only had to endure the sidewalk for a little more than a miles. We finally reached Falls Bridge to cross over to MLK.

Me and MLK as ONE

Me and MLK as ONE

At this point, the top of my left foot was hurting. I loosened the laces to hopeully ease the pain. Thankfully, that did the trick! Here we go again on familiar terrain. I dropped the tether and followed the double yellow lines on MLK. I’m sure I said this before and I’ll say it again. The idea of running on a fairly empty road allows me to drift into a zone – an area where I can think, not how much further I have to go or why I’m crazy for doing this, but rather a time to reflect on how I got to this point. I get the chills and an overwhelming high – a feeling like the road and I are ONE. I’m sure other sunners can agree with me when you feel your legs, arms, body, and breathing  are in sync, there is a feeling you can run, run, and run some more. This is where I picked my pace up and ran until we hit the end of MLK where we had to get back onto the sidewalk toward the Art Musuem. At this point, Tyrrell and I waited for Ali and Jess to catch up. Almost there = 4 miles to go.

Scenic Shot - Thanks Tyrrell!

Scenic Shot – Thanks Tyrrell!

Tyrrell and I eventually hit Kelly Drive trail back to CIGNA. I was movin’ and feeling good. No pain, no cramps, nothing. When you have great guides (fortunately  hae many!) I feel I can run with ease. Running with a guide takes time to learn each other. There may be bumps and bruises in the beginning, but with time, the trust between me and my guide(s), becomes evident.

Tyrrell, Mark Ali, Jessica

Tyrrell, Mark Ali, Jessica

Tyrrell and I ran beyond Cigna to account for the remaining .25 miles to go. WE DID IT! 19 miles done! Ali and Jessica came in not too long after! My wonderful wife, Kay, was waiting in the lobby. We all went up to our meeting area where we found a lovely note left befind by our wonderful Achilless family! Like I’ve said numeroustimes, Philly Achilless is the best group of people (and FBR, too) in the world!!!

Congrat to Ali for completing her FIRST 19 miler! Thank you to ALi, Jess, and Tyrrell for doing an anazing job of guiding!!! Shout out to our wonderful comrades for leaving some goodies for us to enjoy! And thanks to my number supporter, Kay, for getting up at the crack of dawn to drive me to the train station. Awesome job Team  Mark!!!

I would like to congratulate the following people on completing their FIRST full marathon in Atlantic City, NJ:

Abby, Brian, Carla, Josh  and Stacy!!!

Also, shout to Cindy (Stacy’s friend) and Kelly (FBR) for doing the HALF!!!! Job well-done everyone!!!

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