Exploration and Discovery

February 02, 2020 :: 8:47 PM

I’d apologise for the impromptu concert I gave on the way home from Orlando, but I’m not sorry.

1) I travelled to Orlando solo to run the inaugural Running Universal 5K and 10K.

I did super well on the 5K, even though it rained. I’ve started taking intervals seriously and they work. I finished the race stronger than I began it, which is saying a lot. I didn’t PR time-wise, but I did pace-wise.

I did pretty well on the 10K, too. Didn’t PR, but I had a blast running through the parks and making friends with a dude in a T-Rex costume. 

I saw a lot of PHRC people and met up with a few before and after the races. Dinner Friday night, Saturday and Sunday I corralled with a Gryffinfriend, yelled “FOR BILL!” with another Claw as she ran past, was jealous of the Puff’s Cookie t-shirt… It was nice to bring the virtual into reality, even if it was for a few seconds each time.

2) Running a 5K and a 10K back - to - back didn’t suck nearly as hard as I thought it would. That’s great news for the Rival Run weekend in April, when I’ll do a 5K, a 10K, and a half over three consecutive days. I just need to get the half under control. And it will be.

3) I finally made a long-awaited pilgrimage to Kennedy Space Center on Saturday.

(I have a Challenger/Columbia license plate, so that might tell you a little bit about how important this trip was to me.)

34 years ago on January 28th, I sat in a classroom and watched as Challenger basically disintegrated upon take off.

That affected me more than I could have ever thought possible…

I practically burst into tears the second I stepped onto the property.

That was long before I got to the memorial for the three astronauts who died on Apollo 1.

Long before I saw a space shuttle for the first time.

Long before I saw the memorials to the crews of Challenger and Columbia.

In a weird quirk of timing, I happened to go to KSC on the 17th anniversary of the day Columbia was lost.

In another weird quirk of timing, Ron McNair’s family was on site. His uncle owned a bar in Hartford, CT, and somehow, my father knew Ron. I can’t remember how they met, but I do vividly remember my father’s reaction when his name was read out loud on the news. (McNair was on Challenger’s final flight.)

At any rate, the reveal of Atlantis was super powerful and I burst into ugly tears. As I stood there crying, an employee came over to me and asked if I was OK. (I was so NOT OK.) He told me about how he had worked on all five shuttles and… just a bunch of stuff. It meant a lot to him that he would come over to me and start talking.

Then. I went down to the the memorial area. I cried the entire time I was in the hallway looking at the personal mementos of both shuttle crews. I made the mistake of looking around the corner and seeing a piece of Challenger’s left body paneling and Columbia’s cockpit window frames.

I’m still tearing up thinking about how powerful that was…

 

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