When I was in the fourth grade my family and I lived in the small west Texas town of Wellington with a population just over 2000. It’s one of those small towns where everyone knows their neighbor and many of the streets were still made out of bricks. It was the place where I first experienced the atmosphere of Friday night lights. How as a kid I wanted nothing more than to put on the red and white and fight with the Wellington Skyrocket football team more than anything in the world!
The only thing that I didn’t really enjoy about my time in Wellington was the fact that we were a million miles away from our nearest big city. Okay, it was 100 miles to Amarillo, but to a kid in a time before cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, or even the Nintendo game boy it was an awful trip. Amarillo was not Dallas or Houston but it had all we needed that we couldn’t get at the local grocery store. The drive was rough but I always liked the trips to town excpecially when we stopped at Sams Club. My sister and I would eat our weight in the free samples that were scattered all over the store. We mastered the art of pretending like we had not tried something at a table that we had just been to 10 minutes earlier. Of course the demo person knew, our parents knew, and every other person that I have ever met who grew up spending part of their childhood at Sams knew too.
Texas is a really big state and we tend to measure our road trips by how many hours it will take us to get somewhere. I tend to gauge trips in 100 mile increments myself because of those trips to Amarillo. I will say that since the speed limit is now 75 and the invention of audio books and podcasts the 100 mile trip would pass by much faster. Did I seriously say the “invention of something” (audiobooks) that isn’t even considered a new thing today? How old am I? I can’t be that old. I still make sure to check all of the sample tables at Sams, or I did until COVID-19 hit. Just once I want to write something that doesn’t mention Covid-19. It’s the here and now though and slowly changing our world as it is firmly ingrained into our story.
I did have books that kept me entertained when we would make the long journey to Amarillo and I am forever grateful for that because I am sure that that is why I enjoy reading so much still today. Trips back home were not as fun. The sun had typically gone down or was in the process of sinking down into the flat west Texas farmland. My dad had installed some reading lights in the back of our family’s 1987 suburban (wait until I tell you about learning to drive in that same suburban or bus as I like to call it) which helped me with night reading. Most nights I would just try to sleep or I would daydream about the brown haired girl who’s dad had a business across the street from where my dad worked and the blonde hair, blue eyed girl that lived down the street from me. I liked both of them.
When making any kind of long trip repetitively you start to learn the landmarks along the way. There isn’t much surprise as to how far you have traveled and you pretty much know how long until you get home. When I go for a run I don’t like to know how far I am running. I like to find that out when I get home. I like to create a route and just go because it is exciting for me to explore places I have never been. I do my best not to look at my watch to see how far I have run. I also try not to look at my pace. I have had many issues with my watch pausing in the middle of a run so I have developed a habit of looking at the top part of my watch screen to ensure that it is recording.
Sunday night was the last night of January and I knew I needed roughly 10.4 miles to accomplish my running goal. I wanted to run 100 miles in a month for the first time since my running journey started in March of last year. Saturday in Amarillo the wind was insane! 40 plus MPH and when the wind blows in west Texas it carries dirt, dust, tumbleweed, and the occasional empty used shopping bag. I opted for a longer run on Sunday rather two shorter runs so that I could avoid a few days on Zyrtec and Flonase. I plotted out a route that would get me to roughly 10.4 miles, put on several layers of clothes and I took off.
The weather was nice and cool, wind was at a minimum, traffic was light, and the run was great. It was a quiet night except for the occasional sound of a car racing down Soncy rd. I could hear the sound of my shoes on the road, my breathing and the sound of the chain I wear around my neck bouncing against my chest. What was more noticeable about the quiet night was what I didn’t hear. I was running for almost two hours and I do not recall hearing a single siren from an ambulance or a police car. The town was quiet. I found myself thinking about the 100 mile journey I was working on. I thought about how I only logged 11 miles in the first 10 days of the month. The temperature started dropping and I started to feel it. I started thinking I should have done more miles the first ten days and I wouldn’t be out in the cold. I had this argument with myself for miles 7 and 8. I started on mile number 9 and I forgot about my argument because I was close to accomplishing my monthly goal. I finished my night run with 10.63 miles. I wanted to make sure I completed the 100 miles. I could not see myself spending the entire month of February arguing with myself about how I came up short of my goal by a quarter of a mile.
100.2 is the distance that I ended the month of January with. As I reflect over my month of running I think about how I could have covered all of the ground between Wellington and Amarillo. I think it is perfectly fitting that my 100 mile goal was accomplished in Amarillo Texas. I am very proud of this accomplishment. As I look towards August I know that I will be making that same trip one and a half times in the period of six days. I have a lot of training runs left. I’ll have a lot more arguments with myself while I’m out running the roads. I’ll be running though. Running on a mission with a team of amazing runners to STOP MS!