Day 4 is officially in the books with a time of 3:22:24. This is the fastest time of the series so far. The race site was at Spruce Run National Recreation Area in Clinton, NJ and was 7 loops with 6 rubber bands along mostly asphalt.
There were so many new faces and all the familiar faces for mutual moral support. The newbies quickly embraced the camaraderie and returned words of encouragement.
Fitness Changing Lives
Since I was feeling particularly good today I did most of the race by myself after encouragement from friends. I did talk with a couple of the new faces and hear their stories about how fitness has changed their lives for the better. And how the benefits keep them motivated to stay on the path. Since it was day 4, there were several friends who were moving slow so extra coaxing and some pacing kept them moving towards their goal of completing the race.
The end of the race brought some good-byes. People are heading home for Mother’s Day or travelling long distances to return to work on Monday and will not race tomorrow.
Great to See No Trash Policy
Since the series is held in parks, there is a no trash policy out of respect for the areas. It is refreshing to be in a race which is not littered by empty cups and food wrappers. Bringing your own water bottle is strongly encouraged and the refill service is great – as you can tell by the number of bottles on the table. The volunteers will even custom mix Gatorade for you. The small snacks at the food area are emptied into hands so that the cups can be re-used for the next person. There is always a hot food option from the food trailer. Today’s hot treat was noodle soup.
Listening to JP’s Plant Yourself Podcast
The drive from New Jersey to New York was mainly on state routes. It is beautiful countryside with rolling hills and centuries old buildings. The architecture is different than in Pennsylvania. An added bonus was listening to John Pierre on the Plant Yourself podcast. Filling my mind with new information while traversing this country has been fulfilling.
One More Race Left
Tomorrow night will be the final update.
Day 5 – The Independence Series is Complete!
Day 5 is in the records books and the Independence Series is complete. Today’s race was at Ulsted County Fairgrounds in New Palz, NY. It was 10 laps and 9 rubbers bands on a flat, paved path that wove through the fairgrounds.
It permitted a lot more interaction with everyone then the previous courses. The black cone that marked the turn around was at the exit to the parking lot so it was a spot for god-byes between those who finished and those still on the course. Several people who had done the first four days were not with us for day five. We missed their faces and encouraging words.
The day started out cloudy until the clouds let loose of their load and rain fell for two hours. After the rain stopped the clouds slowly parted and the sun finally shone on us.
Open Your Heart and Your Mind
I spent the day walking with a runner who wanted to save her legs for upcoming races. We chatted for three hours and 45 minutes. It was great fun sharing stories and learning each other’s life stories. It is a common occurrence to share stories on a race course that you normally would not share with a perfect stranger. Something happens to lower your guard and open your heart and your mind when you lace up your shoes and participant in a running or walking event. This phenomenon occurs to both the teller and the listener.
The finish of this challenge is bittersweet. It is satisfying to attain a goal but sad to be leaving a new group of friends. There were hugs, group pictures, photo bombing and many words of appreciation to fellow participants, volunteers and race staff. It is like leaving a family reunion – too short a time spent with those held dear.
The drive was long from New York to West Virginia and very scenic. Again I opted for no toll roads and traversed some beautiful New York countryside. I enjoyed the scenery while listening to a podcast about the science behind grounding. Even though I was not physically attached to the ground, I felt very connected to the surroundings.
‘Be a Fruit Loop in a Bowl of Cheerios’
Tomorrow I will return home to the routine of work, caring for animals, maintaining the farm and spending time with family and friends. This past week has re-affirmed the changes that I’ve made have been leading me to something better. It has shown me the importance of being comfortable in your own skin and that a smile makes everyone feel better. Like the water table wisdom for today states ‘Be a Fruit Loop in a bowl of Cheerios’. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Hope that is has been as fun for you as it was for me.