Monday, August 23, 2010

Run for the Fallen 65k~A day to remember!

Sunday, August 22nd
The family got on the road early to head to Ogunquit for The Run for the Fallen. As we drove into the town the ladder trucks from the Fire Dept had a giant American flag up over the road where the start of the run would begin. It took my breath away at the thought of what today was going to hold.


We parked and then walked through the mass of people and I immediately ran into Nancy & Bob Kelley. The Kelley's are the parents of Capt. Christopher S. Cash, the soldier I was running in honor of today. We exchanged hugs and took a couple of pictures together~and this was the second time today I was holding back my emotions and tears.



Capt. Christopher Scott Cash Sr., died June 24, 2004, in heavy fighting in Iraq while serving in the N.C. National Guard. He was one of three U.S. soldiers who died in Baqubah, a town 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. He left behind a wife, Jennifer and two sons, Christopher Jr and Matthew.

In 2004, Nancy and Bob founded the Captain Christopher Scott Cash Memorial Scholarship Fund and in 2005, they started The Run for Cash 5k.

Captain Christopher S. Cash

Each and every soldier being honored today was represented by a picture, brief biography and a pair of crossed American flags. In the middle of the pictures was the symbol of the fallen soldier; The gun, boots, dog tags topped with the helmet.

At this time, I met up with Jim from Dailymile.com. Jim is a local runner who will be completing his 15th marathon this fall. I was excited to finally meet this super supportive and positive guy in person! I also got to meet Patty, Jim's wife. Jim then introduced me to another Dailymile local runner, Chris.

The route of the 65k the Run for the Fallen would follow today

The names each of the 65 soldiers being remembered today were then read aloud followed by the ringing of a bell. There was a moment of prayer and then a 21 gun salute. Jim, Chris and I listen to the names of the soldiers being read

The runners were then told to line up next to the trolleys and off we went. Chris was kind enough to run at a slower pace for Jim and me. We chatted about dailymile and runners from that site, races, paces, beer and ice cream. We discussed our health, our families and how lucky we were that our partners were all supportive of our running and racing. I usually run alone and it was great to run with a couple of genuine guys~the miles flew by! Before I knew it, Jim was checking his Garmin and we had already logged about 7 miles. I was running pain free and I was able to thank each family along the way.

Jim and I wave to my husband, Casey as he drove by in Wells. What a photog!


I had to take a potty break and lost Jim and Chris for a while but caught up to Jim eventually and on we ran...

Chris, Jim and Me wave to Jim's wife Patty as she drove by. Another talented photographer!

About 12.5 miles into the run, just before the Arundel town line I needed to take a break; I needed some fluids and I needed some dry socks. I had lost a toenail early that morning and thus wrapped in a very cool SpongeBob Squarepants band-aid~needless to say I was starting to develop a blister.

I said my goodbyes to Jim and ran to catch up with the lead trolley. When I got on I was greeted with cheers and an ice cold Gatorade! I have never been much of a person to hold much stock in Gatorade but today it must have done it's thing. After a short break, dry socks and some Fierce Strawberry Gatorade I was ready to roll!! The Biddeford town line was just over the hill and I was gonna run through town. I got out with two gals that work with the families that lost soldiers. Once gal was retired from the Army. I ran with them for a bit and then found myself running alone. I was happy to be alone with my thoughts at this point~thinking about the day, the miles ahead and the families we had passed today. I thought of the Veteran's who stood so solemn, proud and in salute.
I ran through all of Biddeford and as we approached York Hill I jumped back on the trolley. While there I called my husband to let him know that I would be approaching Old Orchard Beach soon and that Kilometer #39 would be my final run for the day. My body was done. Having been battling an injury for several weeks had put a halt to my long runs and this was the longest haul I had done since early July.
As we approached Saco, I met two other fine people~Jon from Alfred and his girlfriend, Christine from Scarborough. The three of us chatted about running, racing, injuries and triathlons. Jon was sitting it out until the final 3 k's today due to a knee injury and Christine said she would join me for a couple miles in OOB.
We jumped out on the Ross Road and then eventually we approached Kilometer #39! Captain Christopher S. Cash's kilometer. I saw Nancy and Bob cheering next to Christopher's picture and I ran into Nancy's arms for a big hug. I then thanked Capt. Cash for his service to this country, said a prayer and then the tears came. Christine ran ahead and I continued this final kilometer in prayer. Thankful for soldiers that gave their lives to protect our freedom. Thankful for my family and my health. I relected on my jouney over the last year and a half and how much I have grown as a person.
I reached kilometer #40 and turned around, half jogging/half walking back to be with Bob and Nancy. My dad would be coming to pick me up and bring me home to my husband and daughter.
I cheered on the runners that passed and talked about the day. I parted ways with the Kelly's with hugs and promises to meet up again soon. I will be helping Nancy with the 2011 Run for Cash and will do whatever she needs! I am in awe of her strength and how much she gives back.
I was able to run just about 20 miles today and it was far more than I expected. When I felt like quitting I thought of the next family at the next kilometer and kept going. I has asked my parents to pray for me and I know that my body only cooperated today because of those prayers.

My husband had asked me early in the morning why I chose to run this particular run as it was not a race. I has a hard time putting my answer into words but summed it up by saying that I wanted to do something BIGGER than me.
Today was certainly bigger than me and better than I expected. I met some amazing people and it was a privilege to be a part of something so special. And I can't wait to do it again next year!
**a special thank you to Patty and Jim for some great pics.

5 comments:

Greg Strosaker said...

Nice write-up on an amazing event Jen, I saw Jim's report on DM as well and can't imagine the emotions (and logistics) involved in such a day.

TK42ONE said...

Wow. I love the reason for the run but not the reason for the run. Does that make sense? I'd love to see some sort of run like this in my area. Such a great cause and great group of people to support. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Excellent write-up about an excellent day Jen. Running with and meeting you and Chris was the frosting on the cake. The cake was taking part in such an event and being able to show our humble but real appreciation to the families of the fallen - real heroes. The fact that you were able to run pain free for such a long distance was also good news. Stay healthy, stay happy - and we'll see ya' on the streets again

Jim in Wells

Anonymous said...

Jen,

It was wonderful to read your summary of such a touching, memorable day. Thank you!

Christina from Scarborough
Your Trolley Friend :)

Lindsey said...

What a great "race" report. I cried just reading about your day, I cannot imagine how it must have felt to be out there. You did fantastic, great job.