If you have ever considered tackling a marathon the 26.2 With Donna is a great race for a worthy cause. Traversing Jacksonville’s beautiful shoreline and winding through a variety of neighborhoods lined with supportive folks sharing not only their support but also their bacon, Bloody Mary’s and an assortment of fruit, the physical pain and effort is easily overcome by the sense of community and purpose. OK, “easily” is a poor user of the language, especially if you are not a seasoned distance runner. You will hurt but when surrounded by those running in honor of loved ones they have lost or those presently fighting to survive, your pain is a little less relevant.
My first “Donna” was this past year and while my responsibility was the first leg of a relay team (I along with my friend Vicki Schoonmaker tackled the first 5 miles), hearing the stories told by those who had run it in the past of how beautiful the experience is, I had to continue beyond my task. Gutting out 15 miles, roughly 7 beyond what I had trained for, left me aching through a good portion of my lower extremities. Adding to the pain was the unseasonably cold Jacksonville day which never topped 36 degrees during the run. Having run a New Years Eve 5k in Vermont where the temperature was 8 degrees the cold was not a shock. The wind was another story, especially along the beach where the tranquility of crashing waves illuminated by a cloudless sky fought hard to mask numbing breeze.