Does 24% constitute a milestone of sorts? It certainly seems like it should - and so we will announce our progress as having achieved our 12th of 50 States and in, of all places, Abilene Kansas. For those of you perhaps unfamiliar with this landmark on the Chisholm Trail, may we remind you that this was Dwight D. Eisenhower's boyhood home - and certainly the community of about 6,000 people - some 2.5 hours west of Kansas City, has not forgotten their famous son.
So what did running to that 24% milestone look like? It looked like an enjoyable pasta dinner the night before the race in a parish church recreation hall across from the Eisenhower Center where we met runners from BYU, Colorado, Florida and a host of other places (to include Kansas!) - most of which shared one common trait - they were hooked on running. It looked like an interesting tour on D-1 of the Eisenhower home and museum - a fitting and very interesting tribute to a true American hero - whose management and leadership of the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944 is probably responsible for us being where we are today and living as we do. It looked like a small-town race with a relatively small number of runners (probably less than 400) - but hosted by a warm and friendly community that made everyone feel welcome and that took care of runners before, during and after the race. It looked like a course across the Kansas countryside - with rolling hills, a park, friendly aid and drink stations and a strong breeze that took its toll on the outbound portion of the race but helped push people as they finished. It actually looked like a course that allowed me to have one of my best times since I began running races again in my 50s. It looked like a post-race pancake and sausage breakfast - again hosted by some very friendly volunteers. And it looked like a visit to the Statehouse in Topeka and the campus of Kansas University on the return trip to Kansas City and the airport.
All in all, running to 24% was a very nice weekend and race - and a milestone worth noting on the journey. Check it off! Color it in! Hang the medal! We're on our way!
Oh...and by the way - what noteworthy thoughts may have been associated with this particular run? Perhaps an even deeper realization and gratitude that both health and means have converged to make this journey possible - with someone I love to run with - and someone who makes the next 76% look like a wonderful adventure.
Run strong. Run grateful. Keep running.