This morning was my first of many GTSs - affectionately known as Group Training Session. Each Saturday at 8am we meet up as a group with our great coaches Ed and Marie to do our miles. I have to admit, I was feeling pretty crappy this morning. I had a horribly stressful work week and for some reason didn't sleep at all last night. I was up at 3:00am and never went back to sleep. I was dreading having to get up and run in the cold. But, I grabbed a cup of coffee and sucked it up anyway, thinking it would be a terrible way to start my training. And, by comparison, a little lost sleep is not something to whine about considering the reason why I'm doing this training in the first place!
So, consoled by the beautiful morning and my cup of caffiene, I head to our meeting place. Not knowing what to expect, they helped explain how far we'd go (3 miles today) and what the routine typically will be. I was happy to know that a post-run IHOP gathering is routine! Ed and Marie are great - they've been married over 20 years and provided a lot of motivation and reassurance that all of this is do-able - the fundraising, the miles, the finish-line. I found out that Ed and Marie are also practically my neighbors!
On our run/walk Marie was telling me about her inspiration and why she got involved - her dear sister Julie sadly passed away 3 years ago to leukemia. She found the program to be inspirational and felt like she could do something to help cure this disease and deal with her pain. Since then she's finished so many races, and in fact after our GTS was on her way to Florida to do a half marathon to support a first-timer! Marie's on target to do 12 races this year -- talk about dedication!! It felt better knowing she was never an avid runner - and still wants to do more races!
I also met our team's "honored hero" Paul. He and his wife Mary were out there to train with us this morning. Paul was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in January 08 and is thankfully in remission. I also met our team mentors Carol and Bruce - they've done this program before and are great motivators already! I'm comforted by their friendliness and advice.
So by the time the GTS is over, I feel great and so glad I went out there today. The sun was shining and the air was chilly and crisp, and I feel really glad I committed myself to this for the next three months. My stress from the last two weeks was washed away! "Stress...I spit on you," I say. On my little high, I get into my car and follow everyone to IHOP - yay!!
So then I get pulled over for speeding on the way and get a ticket. Seriously!!?? The stress I thought was washed away comes flooding back and I start to bawl - and those of you who know me know - I'm not a crier. I'm reminded of that scene in The Holiday where Cameron Diaz is trying to cry after a breakup and she just can't. Shoulder shrugs...pinched cheeks...looks into the light...nothing. Normally that's me, but not today. The officer I'm sure thought I had lost my mind, but nevertheless records my offense and gives me his little carbon copy paper for me to sign and tells me to slow down. SLOW DOWN??? I really wasn't going that fast. I peak in the rearview mirror and I look like hell. I think about just going home - I'm embarrassed to sit my blotched face and watery eyes in front of a table of strangers - nice strangers - but I just met most of them today. So, again I calm myself down and remind myself that this doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things and I go into IHOP. For the next 45 minutes or so, I laugh, I hear stories, I get to know great people, and I'm again insprired.
Marie, Ed and Me.