“We’re going to have a marathon!” my friend Lynda Wood grins at me, “but you can’t tell anyone yet.” The year is 2006, Lynda is the force behind the newly formed Outer Banks Education Foundation. DCEF’s then director, Amy Montgomery, has pitched this money making idea to the board. They love it even knowing how much work it will involve to get it in place. “We are still dialoguing with town officials and all the other players,” Lynda wraps up her secret. I have absolutely no hesitation that she will convince everyone to get on board and of course that is exactly what happens.
A marathon event intrigues me ever since seeing Frank Shorter win in 1972. I happen to have our newly acquired first ever color television turned on, actually it is such a novelty that we have it turned on more times than not. And there he is all alone turning into olympic stadium running passed cheering crowds that line the street. I am hooked. That looks like such a thrilling moment. But of course marathon running is for Olympians and their like, never mere mortals such as myself.
Until my dental hygienist can not contain her excitement as she cleans my teeth. “Right here in our own back yard,” she is so excited. I ponder. I consider. She is a runner. Me not so much. But wait I do run with Stephanie and the girls on Saturday morning. In her intense Beach Pump class, think bootcamp, we are put through our paces including running on the beach.
I can do this, I reason. But I need a training partner. I buttonhole Suzanne Deiss, fellow Beach Pump attendee as well as every other class the girls at the rec center offer. I’ve known Suzanne a long time. Jackie Sue was in my swimming classes. But I don’t know her that well. Still I catch her in a private moment and throw out my idea. She doesn’t take long to answer. We’re a team.
We are confident but have absolutely no clue about what we’re doing, and so we tell no one for weeks. Just in case we decide to quit, or worse fail. And then one day in class Denise DePedro point blank asks me if we’re training for the marathon. We fess up and now realize that we’ve got to make good on our intent. There’s no turning back.
We are so green in the beginning that we don’t even know about the sweeper. We think that if worse comes to worse we can walk the entire way. But we learn that the sweeper will pick you up if you’re too slow. Great. Now we have to really train seriously. We read books, I cruise the internet. We make a plan. And along the way some pretty hilarious things happen. As Jackie Sue, Suzanne’s daughter, tells her mom, “Mom when you go running with Sandy I never know when you’ll be back.” She may as well have added, “Or what mischief you’ll get into.”
She’s right. Most any adventure with me is a SandyBeachGirl experience. One time during our training we’re at the Youth Center having a water break when a guy drives up and puts down his window. “You’re SandyBeachGirl, right?” I look at him. How does he know that I ask. “Your pony tails.” Oh those, well I do aim to entertain. More on this particular SBG adventure soon.