Two years ago this week I drove up to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire with my daughter so we could watch Erica and her eleven teammates finish their 200 mile Reach the Beach Relay Race. I was not on the team because I had not been running much, due to two herniated discs in my lower back. I was happy for them as they crossed the line as a group, but inside I felt entirely lame and left out. I vowed in the van on the way home the next morning that I would work myself into the best shape of my life and then I would be in the race the next year, not clapping from the sidelines.
Last September, I was indeed a member of the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club relay team as my teammate Aisling Colon crossed the finish line, bringing our team in in 28 hours, 23 minutes, and some odd seconds. This was an hour faster than the year before, when the team ran an average 8 minutes and 33 seconds per mile for over 200 miles.
It felt really good to be part of such a demanding undertaking—no sleep, no showers, no stopping for food—and it was so much fun that it ensured I would once again run the race this year.
In the interim, I have decided I need to run a half marathon every three months in order to fight time’s and gravity’s ravages. So, as this year’s Reach the Beach approaches, I am probably now in much better shape than I was for last year’s race. And I am growing more and more excited day by day. I just now finished a slow four-mile run as my daughter Isabel practiced her balance beam routine and her backflips and as I ran down the Farmington Canal trail for the hundredth time in the past year it struck me that one week from right NOW I will be running my first leg of the relay.
It feels good to be excited about something. It reminds me of the value of trying hard things with other people. I will let you now how it goes when we get back next Sunday.
Rosie Ruiz Fan Club 2008