When people hear that you are training for __________ (fill in the name of a race), they often ask: “What is your favorite running route (or bike route or swim)?” My answer is usually the same…. Any place that has great scenery to look at or running with someone – family, friend, stranger.
To answer the question more specifically, I do have a few favorite runs.
2004 (maybe) – Remember, before I started training for the Disney Marathon, I hadn’t run many road races, however, one of the few I had run was the Gate River Run. If you’re not a Jacksonville native or 15k phenom (it’s the 15k National Championship), there’s a chance you’ve never heard of it. It is a great race through some scenic parts of Jacksonville. The crowds are absolutely fantastic, as most are having lawn parties (with mimosas – yes I was jealous) to cheer on the runners. Well in 2004, I ran this race with my Daddy. It was the first time he had ever run any distance, let alone a 15k. Really, I think this was the first time he actually experienced the health benefits of exercise which I believe changed his life.
The race day was pretty typical for March in Florida – humid, hot, and humid. He and I were both so excited. I was probably much more excited than he was, as I think he was a little nervous. We started the race together before he left me in his dust. I was not anywhere close to trained and he had been running every day. His goal was to run the race in double his age. That would’ve been 110 minutes. There is no way I would slow him down. Long story short, he did finish in his goal time and I was closely behind him. I loved this run because it was with my Daddy!
January 2010 – Obviously, the Disney Marathon when CPC and I “ran into love”!
September 2012 – CPC and I were in Wisconsin for my uncle’s wedding. The weather was gloriously chilly (well chilly for Florida standards) and the leaves were beautiful shades of gold. CPC and I found this running path that started at my Grandma’s and continued to Main Street – in a town with a population of 25,000 it’s not hard to find a route like this. The path went along a descent sized creek. CPC and I would run it daily. Each day we would see something new – a deer, some rabbits, but every day the scenery would take my breath away. Beautiful blue sky. Golden leaves on the white barked trees. Golden rods blooming in the fields. The babble of the creek as you crossed the foot bridges. And the slight glimpse of the wild life. These are the days that you know God just smiled down on us. Still one of my favorites to this day.
I guess the really short answer to the question is… “Any run I get to do with those that I care about!”
Every run I learn something new about myself and every run I try to appreciate my ability to be physically active.