Saturday, April 11, 2009
Today was the last long training for the spring team - 20 miles for the marathoners and 13 for the half-marathoners. We also had Nicki and Chad of the Shamrock team come back to run a bit and to help out. Nicki and Coach Vicki ran for a bit, but then provided roving "sag" wagons for support and fluids. Nicki also gave me some pretzels which totally hit the spot.
Before we started, Coach Chuck told us about a woman he knows through work who has a two year old grandson. The little boy has been battling brain cancer, and passed away this Tuesday. How sad! As a grandfather of a two year old girl, I cannot even begin to imagine this family's pain. Chuck then led on one us of his great cheers: "Walk or Run, Last Long One!" to celebrate our last long training day. Taper starts tomorrow!
The route was a good one - all over the place - so I kind of went nuts with the photos. It was such a beautiful spring day, the flowers were out all over, and I had a camera - so what can I say? We ran through the "Fan", past VCU, through downtown, down to Shockoe Bottom, doubled back to downtown - I detoured through the State Capital Grounds as you will see. From there it was back past VCU, through the "Fan" along Monument Avenue, then out to the Near West End, down to the "Wall" and west to the Westhampton area. We wrapped it up by running through some beautiful neighborhoods near the University of Richmond, did some hills through the university grounds, and ended at a Catholic Church. And that was just the 13 mile route. Vicki gave us a lift back to Byrd Park from the church.
While it was fun, it was a tough run for me. My left foot hurt continually from about mile 5, and just kept hurting more. My right foot hurt intermittantly. I ran too much at the start and ended up doing a 50:50 run - walk mix for the last 4 miles or so. But, no complaints. I am healthy enough to run and walk 13.4 miles, and that is more than I could have said nearly seven years ago when I started cancer treatments. And for a wonderful bonus, I ran into my 2005 teammate and 2006 mentee Vaunda at the grocery store where she works in Shockoe Bottom. It was great to see her again!
Here are photos from the day. The ones from the State Capital grounds were a little detour I did.
Chad, Nicole, Paul, and Dave near the start of training
"Rainbow" business buildings along Main Street near the "Fan" and VCU
Returning towards the downtown from Shockoe Bottom
I added at least 5 minutes to my run by walking slowly through the capital grounds snapping many photos on such a pretty day. This is the State Capital Building.
The Governor's Mansion. A new resident will take over this beautiful building some January, and there are already many people lined up who want that opportunity.
I love this monument! It is the Civil Rights monument that was dedicated last year, right here in the "Capital of the Confederacy". The quote is from Thurgood Marshall: "The legal system can force open doors and sometimes even knock down walls, but it cannot build bridges. That job belongs to you and me." This is the first and only monument at the capital with a young person, a female, and a minority.
Dogwoods on the Capital Grounds
George Washington (and several other famous Virginians) looks over the Capital Grounds
Downtown area from Capital
The first azaleas I've seen in bloom this year
Edgar Allan Poe. Earlier in the run, we ran by his house, the oldest surviving house in Richmond. We did not see any ravens.
Vicki snapped this shot of me at her sag wagon. I was only about 5-6 miles in and already tired with a sore foot.
The Five Star Jefferson Hotel, just west of downtown. It has a gorgeous courtyard ("The Palm Court") inside.
Pretty flowers at VCU
General J.E.B. Stuart guards the approach to Monument Avenue, ready for action
If this doesn't get you in the mood for spring, check your pulse!
Pink and white dogwoods (State flower) along Grove Avenue
A few years ago, these rockfish were all over the downtown area, each one decorated by a different artist. It was cool to see this one suddenly appear.
Pretty lane on the way to the University of Richmond
Most of the last mile or so went through the beautiful campus of the University of Richmond
Paying the price. Soaking one's feet in ice water for 10 minutes is such a pleasure (not). I am glad I was not doing 20 miles today. 13 felt quite long enough, thank you!