Posted on March 28, 2015 at 1:33 PM
All I know is that tomorrow morning we’ll be home. I was thinking of the trip in terms of what day we were on but I’ve given up on that. DC actually went perfectly without a hitch; we had alumni meet up with us and bring us Oreos and milk, it was late at night so the traffic was negligible, and the weather was beautiful. Rolling through the hilly streets was surprisingly my best run of the trip; even though it was several days in my legs felt fresh.
Let’s see, we went through New Jersey next night (which is the easiest way to break up the most recent time passage- I can’t call them days because really they just seem like long stretches of time at this point, broken up by irregular naps). Honestly that was probably our toughest state; there were massive re-routes that needed to be done because of weight limits on bridges. Luckily though Danielle still got to cross the Delaware River and pretend to be George Washington. (Would’ve been a tragedy had we missed that opportunity.) Our navigation and communication skills are phenomenal now; everyone works together very efficiently and calmly. We’ve definitely come a long way since our first night of stress in Atlanta. I’m very proud of the group we have!
Sadly Tim had to leave us in Princeton Friday morning, and Aidan followed soon after that night. He came down with something nasty (my bets are still on Malaria, but I haven’t had long enough to observe the periodicity of his fever paroxysms) and so rather than risk getting the rest of the us sick his parents picked him up instead.
The running has been serene; we went through New Jersey High Point Park and that led us to the New York border and then the Catskill Mountains. This is the part of the trip I was looking forward to personally (in terms of scenery I mean), and I haven’t been disappointed. Coach Stevens has been working to get in one run with each of us throughout the trip, and we had ours yesterday. Despite all of the logistics that always need to be discussed, it was mostly a quiet, peaceful 3 miles which I enjoyed. Several of the women have remarked throughout the trip that the running is the easiest part; at those moments there’s nothing you have to do or think about other than just go.
Our wifi and cell service went out last night in the mountains for the first time in the trip, so we had to finagle our wake up times and hope that the next group would be ready when the “on” group finished their legs . At one point the chase van had to leave me while it went to make sure 1b was ready for the handoff, so Alex got out to keep me company until the van returned. I made her turn off her head lamp and for a minute we marveled at the beauty of the night. The moon illuminated the empty road, the stars lit up against a velvet blue sky, and the valley lay sprawled out before us. Because of the cold there wasn’t much wildlife out. The night felt still, with the silence only being broken by the babbling of a nearby brook.
People say it’s the “runner’s high” that’s so appealing about our sport, but I wouldn’t necessarily agree. The “highs” and endorphin rush after a race are great, but not what I truly love. The best part of a long run is rather found during a private moment with nature: when the external environment harmonizes with one’s own feelings of internal peace. In those moments, all is well.
Keep your eyes open for a photo gallery, which should be available early this week. Alex Shipman has been documenting the trip with photographs of our progress, so be sure to check back!