By Ross Forman
SMYRNA, Ga. - My toughest challenge to date was Oct. 13, when I ran 21 miles by myself along the Silver Comet Trail, starting here in suburban Atlanta. I began at the 1.2 mile-marker and knew that, when I saw11.7, it’d be time to turn around and head back to my car.
And then go to work for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling.
The course was perfect: mostly flat and, because of the large trees that surrounded the path, mostly shaded. There were some inclines and a small bridge that I literally had to run up and over, but for the most part, this was the second-best place to run. Behind the ever-scenic path on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, of course.
There was, though, one major flaw: water. Or lack thereof. There was a bicycle shop about two miles after starting, but I didn’t need any water then; I had my water bottle (filled with a hydration mix) and was carrying a 32-ounce plastic bottle of orange-flavored Gatorade. (I never like carrying bottles when running, but I wasn’t gonna risk it since I didn’t know what was, or wasn’t, out there to drink.)
When I hit the 11.5-mile marker, there was a bathroom and water fountain … but the water fountain didn’t work. “Oh @#$#%” was basically what I said at that point. Luckily, though, one of the resting cyclists showed me that, to get the water fountain to work, I had to push the button three times, then water would flow. Sure enough, there was water.
The second-half of my run was fairly, well, boring. There weren’t many people out there to people-watch, though the groups of roller-bladers who skate in a formation are kind of amusing, at least to me they are.
When I hit the bicycle repair shop with about two-miles to go, I bought two bottles of water and a energy bar.
Ultimately, I finished in, oh, about 3:45 – running about half-a-mile past the 1.2 starting marker to complete the full 21 miles. I’m actually just estimating the time since this was my first run that I forgot my watch – and was very frustrated throughout for forgetting.
The iPod is a blessing and I listen to everything from 2Pac to U2, 50cent and Eminem to Neal Diamond and Barry Manilow. I ended the run, fittingly, with Kenny Loggins’ This Is It.
I have only one more long training run: a 24-miler on the first Saturday in November. Otherwise, it’s just 8- or 10-miles on Saturdays, building up to Nov. 25 when I’ll be running 26.2 miles through the streets of Florence, Italy.
My running and training is done to raise funds for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. I’d be grateful if you’d consider sponsoring me and, in the process, helping AIDS Foundation of Chicago. So, please go to my website (www.firstgiving.com/rossruns) and help the AIDS Foundation of Chicago while I run to Florence. Thanks,
Ross Forman can be reached at: Rossco814@aol.com