Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Operation Jack Satellite 10K: Hometown Style

December 26, 2011, time for the annual Operation Jack Satellite 10K. For those of you who are not familiar with it...you should be! I am feeling super lazy tonight so I'm stealing right from the Operation Jack Marathon website.

"In 2010, more than 200 runners in 45 states and five countries participated in Operation Jack Satellite runs on December 26. To commemorate the 61 full marathons Sam Felsenfeld ran in 2010 as part of Operation Jack, participants ran 6.1 miles in their hometown. Due to initial demand, the Satellite Run option will be available again.

Participants will receive the Operation Jack Marathon t-shirt and medal. This year, the suggested distance is 10K, 6.2 miles. All proceeds will benefit the Operation Jack Autism Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity. The primary beneficiary of the Operation Jack Autism Foundation is Train 4 Autism, also a 501(c)3 charity"

Truth be told. I did not want to run this. Last year we had a killer crew running with Team Maine and it was AWESOME! I had promised (first mistake) that this year would be bigger and better. For whatever reason I was unable to pull together a group of runners this year. I know it wasn't for lack of interest. Several friends had family obligations with Christmas and all plus a few that just didn't have the funds to spare so close to Christmas. I know, I get it. I was feeling kinda bummed about not being able to pull anything together. However, I wasn't going to bail. Not on this run! Instead of rushing home from my family Christmas 2.5 hours north to run with my crew....or lack there of, I decided to do the run in my hometown and spend another day with my family.

Last week I blogged about how warm and snow free this winter has been and how excited I was about that. Well Santa brought a nice gift Christmas morning....SNOW!!! I woke up early and wanted to get my run done so I could be utterly lazy for the rest of the day. I bundled up and headed out. Get ready for a 6 mile tour of my hometown.

the top of my parents driveway. 
As I started running,  I started thinking. A lot. It was very quiet on the streets and the only cars that were on the roads were snowplows. I was looking in the windows of various houses as I ran by and saw families eating breakfast and playing with Christmas toys. It was pretty cool.

I didn't become a runner until after I moved away from home and so I haven't actually run around my hometown much. I started thinking about my childhood and growing up in this town. How nice it was to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. I ran by houses and wondered if my friends grandma still lived there (I'm pretty sure she doesn't). I remembered the sleep overs I used to have there and we would sneak into the freezer and steel ice cream sandwiches.

I thought about the 2 buildings at the bottom of this hill. The one on the left used to be a frame shop owned by friends of my parents. They also sold fudge. This is where my love for chocolate mint fudge was born. I remember going into the store as a kid with my parents and sitting at the counter, swinging my legs and eating fudge. I'm not sure what is in the building now. The building on the right used to be a mom and pop video store. I remember going in with my mom and being so excited because she would let me "sign" for our movies. Now it's one of probably 6 Real Estate offices in our small town. (John, The Gagnes live directly to my left in this picture :) )

Then I ran past the Fish Net. Mmmmmmm....it's a take out joint with over priced burgers, fries and ice cream. Oh, and seafood but I don't like seafood so that doesn't count. It's only open in the summer and employs all kinds of high schoolers. I used to know everyone that worked there. I'm afraid I wouldn't know anyone there now. As a kid I used to invite friends over and then we would walk to the Fish Net for lunch. Ya know....what all the cool kids did.

New Cargoes...my first real job. A nice retail store in the center of town. I worked here during college. This place has also been a mom and pop pharmacy, Rite Aid, an empty building and now this. I would have stopped in but they were closed. Booo.

On my way to the back roads I ran through the hospital parking lot....where I was born almost 28 years ago to the date (January 5 in case you were wondering. Feel free to send presents).

Then I took a turn onto a road thats pretty quiet. Lots of summer people live on this road and so theres not a ton of traffic during the winter but a lot of real pretty, big, fancy houses. You really can't find a flat route to run in my town. This road is no exception...full of lots of hills. I was having a hard time with my footing and the snow was stuck to the bottom of my sneakers. I felt like I was skating half the time. Winter running, I've already had enough of you!!

Soooo pretty...at the top of this hill I looked to my left and there was this...

and this...

I'm so lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful town. Of course at the time I didn't realize it but moving away to "the city" I appreciate it when I come back to visit.

I ran down this road for a while before turning around and heading home. As much as I didn't want to get out of my comfy, warm bed I was so grateful to be out there running and supporting a cause so close to me. I thought of Zach who was at home designing car washes with pipe cleaners, cable ties and straws that he got for christmas from Santa. Yes, at 14 he still believes in Santa. I thought of Jack who I've never met, who had no clue hundreds of people were out there running for him that day. As always, I was pleased I got out and went for my run but I was especially pleased about this one. Even though I was running alone, I really did feel like I was running with a large group. I knew there were lots of people running Satellite 10Ks all over the US and Afghanistan as well as the OJ Marathon & Half in California. The best part? We were all running for the same cause: Autism.

And seriously, for a 35 dollar donation where else can you get a kick ass shirt an even better medal AND a bib for the collection? Well done Sam. Next year I'll get my act and a team together.

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