How to best celebrate 24 years?
Today's our 24th wedding anniversary! Several nights ago, Amy asked me a question she was sure I wasn't going to like. "So, for our anniversary... what if we ran the FLRC Challenge course at Taughannock over and over and over again?"
I'm not gonna lie, I thought this sounded like pure torture, and while I enjoy a good run as much as the next guy, I do like some celebration in my celebratory days. "All day?" I asked. "Wait a sec. What if we did 24 miles?" Turns out that's basically 5 challenge efforts with a little kicker thrown in at the end. Thus, this year's challenge was born.
"I would walk 5.65 miles and I would walk 5.65 more, just to be the man who walks 24 miles, to fall down at your door"
We got up bright and early and enjoyed an episode of For All Mankind before packing up a cooler with ice, Gatorade, Bob's bars, Honey Stinger waffles, and a few apples. We had agreed to alternate running and hiking the loops, like: run-hike-run-hike-run. After the first loop, though, Amy asked me if I'd mind running the second one, too, because she'd need to change shoes for hiking. Sure! I was still feeling pretty good, and enjoyed seeing my friends Laura, Scott, Melissa, and Walter on the base trail during this loop.
At the overlook parking lot, I ran into my friend Art and had a fun chat before Melissa, Walter, and Amy came nearby.
Me and Art
You know what the really fun part was? All of us discovering that it was each others' anniversary. Yep. Walter and Melissa were celebrating. Amy and I were celebrating. And Art and Emilie were celebrating. What are the chances of that? We thought it was so cool we took some pictures of all of us (except Emilie, who was on the trail during that time).
Amy, Melissa, and Walter
Amy and I agreed then to run our third loop, too. We were still feeling fresh and the heat of the day was about to settle in. Last night's rain (the most we've had in a while) was quickly forgotten as the humidity lessened and the trail dried out. The third loop felt tough but doable, and by the time I made it back to the parking lot, I was grateful that my son Xander had brought us towels after the second loop. I toweled off, changed my shirt, and grabbed my hiking poles for the final two laps of hiking with Amy.
Beginning our last loop
We ended up having a delightful day. Each loop of this 4.65-4.7 mile course was different: different people, different conversations, different body feels. It was all good, though, and I didn't feel nearly as wasted as I feel at the end of a marathon effort. It made our post-run celebration all the sweeter: 2 X-IPAs and beef-on-weck sandwiches from Two Goats. Does it get any better than this? I don't think so.
All smiles at Two Goats after our 24-mile challenge
My GPS tracks measured a bit long, since by my calculations it should have been a little over 24, but oh well! Challenge completed.