My running partner, Marti Renaud-DiPaola and I have not been able to train together for a few weeks now.  I was sick, then I went to Ft Myer on a #GoogleGlass exhibition and the following weekend, Marti was visiting her son in New Orleans.

We have the 10 miler Disney run coming up in a couple of weeks and I knew I had to go out there and run a long run alone.  I didn’t want to but I forced myself to get up early on Sunday and just do it.

I drove over to the Wantagh Parkway, which is one of my favorite local runs, and headed for the big rock, which dips into the run along the parkway.  I met two Hicksville women who asked if I wanted to run with them. I said, “sure.”

One told me that she was gearing up for the NYC Marathon and the other was gearing up for a half marathon.  “I’m very slow,” said the woman who will be running the NYC Marathon.

I laughed and shook my head.  “I say that all the time,” I told her. “I run, I walk, I finish.” She smiled. After about a quarter mile or so, I lost them both.  The one training for the half was fast.  She bolted after a minute of talking with me.  The other one got very quiet, so I slowed my pace and let them pass.  It was okay.  I wanted to experience the run alone.

There are three bridges that you cross on this path.  On one side is the water.  It’s just incredible.  There’s marsh, wildlife and boats. The other side is the highway.  I ignore that side.

The first two miles were rough.  I didn’t think I would get through it but kept focusing on keeping positive and staying strong.  When I got to mile 3, I turned around.  I was by the toll booth that goes into Jones Beach.  I took a deep breath and started to run back.

I was wearing earphones to listen to my music.  At first, I was listening to some alternative/indie music.  At the 3 mile mark, I put on Family Road Trip on Pandora.  I ran happy listening to comfort music while the sun was shining above.  The weather was perfect.  It was in the low 60’s with no humidity.

The last three miles were much easier than the first three, especially listening to some fun music.  I passed so many bicycle riders and a few runners, which surprised me.  Most of the runners waved to me as I ran by. I love the encouragement of other runners!  It really does make you feel like you’re part of a community.

I ran over two bridges and finally saw the sign on the Wantagh that said, Merrick Road 1 mile.  I smiled. I only had one more mile to go to finish my 6 mile run.

A family passed me on bicycles.  They had two small children, one with the dad and one with the mom. It made me feel so happy to see so many people out there exercising and just having fun doing it.

Even though I find running so hard, I realized on this day that running makes me happy.