This date is probably meaningless to some, but for me and many others it is a day in history that cannot be forgotten. This was the date of my first 50-miler. I did it at the Rocky Raccoon 50-miler in conjunction with the 100-miler. At the time I couldn't even begin to fathom that people could run 100 miles.
While I was looping around Huntsville State Park on what was a beautiful and clear day, I had no contact with the outside world. It was just me and those in the race, the other race, and those helping out. We were in our own bubble.
I finished the race, and proceeded to drive home, I lived in Houston at the time, with Paul following. As I am driving South on 45, I read signs that say "look for shuttle debris on the road." What?? Maybe I was delirious?? I turned on the radio, and called Paul. While I was enjoying the beauty of the day, in my own world, the shuttle Columbia had exploded on entry; all 7 died. I had been so caught up in MY moment, in my day, that I hadn't given another human being a thought.
I only think of this today as the diary of the Israeli Astronaut is displayed. Here is what was written about it: A little over two months after the shuttle explosion, NASA searchers found 37 pages from Ramon's diary, wet and crumpled, in a field just outside the U.S. town of Palestine, Texas. The diary survived extreme heat in the explosion, extreme atmospheric cold, and then "was attacked by microorganisms and insects" in the field where it fell, said museum curator Yigal Zalmona.
"It's almost a miracle that it survived — it's incredible," Zalmona said. There is "no rational explanation" for how it was recovered when most of the shuttle was not, he said.
The U.S. space agency returned the diary to Ramon's wife, Rona, who brought it to forensics experts at the Israel Museum and from the Israeli police. The diary took about a year to restore, Zalmona said, and it took police scientists about four more years to decipher the pages. About 80 percent of the text has been deciphered, and the rest remains unreadable, he said.
Two pages will be displayed. One contains notes written by Ramon, and the other is a copy of the Kiddush prayer, a blessing over wine that Jews recite on the Sabbath. Zalmona said Ramon copied the prayer into his diary so he could recite it on the space shuttle and have the blessing broadcast to Earth.
Do you ever think about what is going on outside of your little bubble? While we are out and about enjoying every moment of our health, there is so much else going on.
I try to make a point, every time I go for a run now, to take a moment (whether it be during a song, during a quiet moment, when I am breathing and working hard, when I am struggling, or when I am thankful to be finished) to think about my family and friends. I would hate forever if there was a time when I was so caught up in my day that I didn't want them with me, didn't need their support, wasn't thankful for them. I feel like when I can give that quick thought, they are always with me.
Some friends and I have been talking about mental strength, and where I go in my head during a long race. My favorite place to go is with the thoughts of my family and friends. At some point, I stop thinking about "the race," maybe things not going perfectly, or whatever and I turn it over to runs I have had with friends, great moments, funny stories, how foturnate I am. I let them "run" with me in my head. I let Paul push me up a hill. I think of all of my Friday "girl" runs, and take them with me. When my best friend was sick, I ran for her, and now that she is well she pulls me along. It's just amazing the power and lift that comes from thinking of them.
Reflecting today, I go there because I so didn't go there on Feb. 1, 2003. Oddly, now, I race better; I have soooo much more fun training and racing; and as Paul likes to say, "anyone running with me with always get a happy Meredith." As much as it is because I am running, it too, is because I am running with thoughts of those I love!!
Feb. 1, 2003 - thank you for the gift of 50 miles and to not get so lost in my bubble!
For my friends running very long or racing this weekend, make sure you take me along...I promise to make those miles good ones :)