Rain, Rain,and Some More Rain

 

As the garage door opened, I could hear the rain making music off the aluminum siding of my house. I knew this was not going to be a pleasant 20 mile run. My wife drove me to the Woodbourne Train Station to catch a 7:05 AM train to Philly Suburban Station. We walked up to the platform and said our goodbyes. I stood there thinking I was absolutely nuts to be running in this weather.

The whole fifty-five minute train rideI to Philadelphia, I kept second-guessing myself. Should I push the run to Sunday or suck-it-up and get the run done today? After texting back and forth with several of my guides, we were debating whether or not to run. However, after posting a question on Facebook, it was official – the 20 mile run was on!

I met Jessica and Fred at Suburban Station and then jumped onto the Manayunk/Norristown Regional Rail to Manayunk Staton. We stepped off and walked over to Starbucks to meet up with the rest of the crew. As we walked over, we commented on the rain slowing down. At this point, I was thinking positively and hoping the rain would eventually stop – NOT!

Starbucks was a perfect meeting place before our run. Some got coffee while others used the bathroom. The woman behind the counter allowed me to leave my cane while I went running. The crew was ready – ready to embrace the wet, windy, and cold conditions.

Natalie took the tether for the first 6 miles. We dodged puddles for about a half a mile before hitting paved grounds furthur along the towpath. Tyrrell was to my left and Natalie was to my right while Jessica, Hal, and Clair were in front of us. We were running at a good pace. The group was in good spirits despite the constant cold rain. As originally planned, Natalie was going to run 5 miles before turning around. However, she changed her mind and decided to run with us to the halfway point where she could hop onto a train at the Norristown Station. Smart move – so we thought!

The crew ran to about 7 miles before we stopped to take a GU/water break. We continued onward and eventually saw another one of our runners, Dave. He kind of got lost and fortunately found us. As we were approaching the 8-9 mile mark, we saw various shopping stores and restaurants. We continued running before stopping at an intersection at about the 9.6 mile mark. Norristown Station was not in sight. The crew felt that if we had continued on, we would not have hit the station, but rather continue heading towards the Valley Forge area. Natalie quickly called a friend to see if she could be picked up at Crackel Barrel across the street. Her friend was available and another smart move on Natalie’s part!

The rest of us turned around and we headed back. We decided we would make up the extra .4 of a mile on the back end. Around the twelth mile, I started to feel lightheaded. I was in serious trouble if I couldn’t press on. I told Jessica I needed some Gu. I took not one, but two at this time. Thank GOD! It worked. I felt much better and continued on. On our journey back on the towpath we saw a part of the trail that split off to the left. This is where Clair saw a sign that signaled the path leading to Norristown. We must have been in such a zone that we totally missed the sign. But, now we know and will never forget. Also, we know that if we want to run to Valley Forge, we have that option too!

We still had about 6 miles to go. Our clothes were sopping wet and our shoes felt like weights. But, we were mentally sharp. The miles were diminishing but the rain was relentless.

1 mile to go! We had to continue dodging big puddles. I think that was the toughest part of the run – the stopping and starting again. We pressed on. We passed Starbucks to continue to the 20th mile. At one point, we passed a restaurant where I could smell something real tasty. Oh, man! I was hungry and thirsty. I couldn’t wait to chow down a juicy, delicious bacon cheeseburger with a cold beer.

WE DID IT! 20 miles in the book!!! The rest of the crew was waiting for us at Manayunk Brewery Company. Thankfully, Ali and JP welcomed us with dry towels and T-shirts. Stephanie brought us her ymmy brownies. I was SO hungry I woofed one before my meal. Oh, it was amazingly delicious.

I can’t thank everyone enough for their support! Thanks to Dima, Fred, Keith, Dave, Hal, Claire, Natalie, Tyrrell, Jessica, Ali, JP, Stephanie, and Greg for making this experience a memorable. Fantastic job to all!!!

Bring on the Philly Marathon!

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