As part of my fundraiser and half marathon training for Team Challenge for Crohn’s and Colitis last year, I made Flat Running Buddies. They’re like a Flat Stanley. Donors sent me photos, I took them running, and then I wrote a blog post about them. Or rather, that was how it was supposed to go. I ended up in a Crohn’s flare of my own during the last third of race training and the side effects of the steroids left me crazed, confused, achey, shaky, and pretty much unable to blog, so, months and months late, I finally present the last running buddy I took out last year (in a couple weeks I’ll have another who I have yet to take running – this is what Crohn’s is like).
I took Adrienne and Frank running in a very special place: Aurora, NY, home to Wells College, where I went to college. I know these two from graduate school at Chatham in Pittsburgh, PA. They are wonderful writers and are happiest in nature, so what better place could I take them than along the banks of Cayuga Lake? And a place they’d both read about in my grad school essays?
I was in Aurora for my five year college reunion. Since I arrived a couple hours before any of my friends, the run (my first ever in Aurora) was my first order of business. I thought it would be the perfect way to see what had changed and what was the same in town and stretch my legs before lunch.
Aurora has one main street along the lake with a lovely long sidewalk.
Since I was tapering for a race just ten days away, we only ran two miles, out and back from the college into Aurora. It was an easy run on a sunny, warm day. We made lots of stops to take photographs, so I didn’t need any walking breaks – it was all running.
We jogged along the lake a few minutes before reaching the town: Dorie’s Cafe, The Fargo Bar and Grille, Bet the Farm Winery, Aurora Market, the Aurora Inn, and at the end of the tiny business district, the bank. I listened to the birds chirping and the small waves lapping against the shore of the lake. I enjoyed the cool breeze, refreshing under the warm rays of sun.
Aurora is a tiny, storybook town that I love. As I ran I took note of hours for my favorite spots. Between thoughts of Aurora, my college days, my graduate school days, and my wonderful friends Adrienne and Frank, the run was over before I knew it. Mentally, it was the fastest, easiest run of my training and the end of it was bittersweet. It was one of those perfect runs that I spend all my other runs hoping to have.
We ended on the college dock, where I sat for awhile after, still caught up in all of my reminiscing and wishing good things and health for all the friends on my mind. It was one of the best mornings of 2014.