Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mount Pleasant

On Friday, I met Jennifer at the foot of the Cooper River Bridge. This was another in a long line of firsts since I started running again, training on the best hill in a couple of hundred miles. Except for the rolling terrain in Maine, I haven't run any hills and only a slight incline on the treadmill so I was wondering if I would be able to make it all the way up without walking.

We start and had not gone very far when several fast guys passed us scampering down the bridge; a couple threw up a hand in affirmation.

We keep climbing. I note where my quarter mile mark was, the light pole past the first overhead sign. I used to do repeats here before the Cooper River Bridge Run to build strength. I like training on hills, I find the incline to be a personified training partner. This is the steepest part of the bridge, but there is still a long way to go.

A half mile passes and Jennifer wonders aloud if she will be able to make it to the top without walking. She hasn't run the bridge in several months but I know better then to believe she will stop. I note where the grade changes once again to be less steep, and soon we are passing high above the Wando River and finish one mile, heading down now.

Jennifer was planning to run 5 miles but decides to do the 4 with me; I had thought I might go 5 with her but know I must be careful not to irritate my residual. We turn around on the far side of the Cooper River and retrace our steps.

We head back up and do the usual dance around walkers who haven't a clue about keeping right or not walking abreast of each other when others are approaching. We stop at the first tower so I can check my sock fit: still good and tight. The view is spectacular; I always love seeing the birds flying far below us. Fort Sumter. The aircraft carrier Yorktown. The spires of the holy city. The Morris Island lighthouse. You could spend all day up here in the sky.

We drag ourselves from the clutches of the sirens and head back from whence we came. I had to be more studious going downhill so as not to trip and do a close inspection of the concrete deck. I glance at a cyclist pushing a woman in the back going up the bridge about the time Jen exclaims: "That's George Hincapie!" George is in town to do a charity ride, but we didn't expect to see him on our run. Very cool.

We complete our run without further brushes with the famous. Done and done. I think we will keep this run in our repertoire for the next few weeks. It will help me build the strength that I would otherwise get from speed workouts, workouts that I am unable to run with any speed at the present.


Jennifer and I also ran some together today, Sunday. She ran much further in her half-marathon training; I was working toward my first 20-mile week. I did two with Jen in the am and she ran with me for most of my 3-mile pm run.

During this latter run in an adjacent neighborhood, we passed a group of folks out enjoying the evening with their children. A woman calls out, "It's nice to see you two running again!" We smile and wave and I am overcome with emotion. Just as I had no idea on how becoming an amputee would change my life, I think no one understands how such support overwhelms me. I think you might have an idea though.

I was thinking of this when the 20 mile mark came and went. One more mile and my week hit another milestone, 21 total.

Next goals, two races and a 30-mile week.


Last night I dreamed again of Jato, the name I have given to my future running blade. I do this about once a week, one that will soon come true. I hope to develop a little speed to be worthy of the gift.

The fact it looks cool is icing on the gravy train.

Told you I was excited!

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