Well, Day 2 (11/8) dawned and what a beautiful day! We awoke to absolutely amazing weather! This was such a blessing versus the years before where it has been quite chilly. Anyway, at the crack of dawn, we were loading the bus with all of our gear (because apparently, none of us can pack light!) and zipping on down the road to Albany. Every year we have the honor of running into Albany with Marines from the local base. Every year they come out, run with us, spend time with us and we get a chance to have some great fellowship with them.
This year was no different, we all met up in the parking lot to form up, use the facilities, etc. Apparently yours truly is known as a chatterbox and one of the guys got a bit worried that I wasn’t overly talkative Tuesday morning (I wasn’t feeling 100%), and when they went to the nearest store to get some supplies, he was kind enough to get me an US Weekly! Thus, he and the other guys were subjected to all the latest celebrity gossip during the trip!
Anyway, we formed up with the Marines and ran a short jog through Albany (3 miles) and then had a very touching ceremony at a local park. Lt. Stevens spoke as did Kimberly Kap. We then had the chance to break and eat some burgers (because as you all know, eating is what we do!!!). Anyway, at that point it was getting close to our shift to take over for the “Night Crawlers” (as they called themselves), so we loaded up and headed on down the road to get some more miles in! Because I apparently like to know what is going on, and because Lt. Stevens was out running, yours truly became the planning person on Tuesday! I ended up getting to drive the rental mini-van. A side note on the mini-van, all of us climbed in the first day shaking our heads at having to ride/drive a mini-van… for guys used to driving Bradley Assault Vehicles, I daresay a mini-van is a bit of a downgrade… but after a week, we were believers. This vehicle was plush, automatically opening doors, rear view camera, all the high end stuff… we all walked away with a new-found appreciation for mini-vans. Anyway, I ended up being the driver for a lot of Tuesday… which, honestly, I didn’t mind. By driving, I had the opportunity to talk with many of the gentlemen doing the run, get to know them and their “story”. In our downtime from not transporting runners to the next stop, we played cornhole on the side of the road!
Did I mention that Tuesday was toasty? If I didn’t, let me start by saying it was starting to get a wee bit warm! The poor guys who ran during the day got some of the worst heat along with exaust fumes, but like the SOF they are, they just kept running (insert Forrest Gump quotes at will!). Anyway, before we knew it, we had all run and were finished early… not like 10 minutes early, but almost 3.5 hours early! So, what is a team to do if they finish early? Go get a nice dinner and beverages!!! Thus, we found a Chili’s outside of Tallahassee, got some food, enjoyed some beverages (it was 2 for 1 after all!) and spent time joking around and having fun! We got into Tallahassee a bit past midnight, spent some more time hanging out, talking, enjoying beers and eventually made our way to our rooms to catch a few hours of sleep before starting again!
For those of you who are wondering if we do anything other than eat, drink, run and sleep during the run, yes, we do. We have a ton of fun hanging out on the side of the road, running together in the cold, running together in the heat, playing cornhole while cars fly by, riding the Budweiser bus, cramming in a short nap when we get the chance, remembering those who are no longer with us, and being thankful that we have made it back for another year. The run is for a serious cause, and we are serious when we need to be, but when we have the chance, we are laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Pics of Day 2 are below. Next I will describe Day 3, Tallahassee to Chiefland! Stay tuned!
Until We Meet Again,
|Good morning, Columbus! The “Day Team” on our way to Albany to run! Don’t we look peppy in the morning?|
|In Albany at the ceremony. Local school children had raised money to donate to Operation One Voice! Great kids!|
|You thought I was kidding about the cornhole didn’t you? Yep, cornhole, beers and gas station food, the ingredients for an AWESOME run!|
|The Day team enjoying a celebratory meal and beverages!|