Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Anniversary" of Hurricane Charley

Now here is a combination that doesn't mix too well, running + hurricane. It was 5 years ago today that Hurricane "Charley" came across Central Florida and inflicted considerable damage. I had been in Orlando for 5 years and had never experienced a full "blown" hurricane. Times they were a changin'.

That year, 2004, was my first year of running. Maybe I upset the "gods" with my return to running and they were going to try to blow me away. Not only did "Charley" come across Orlando, but "Frances" and "Jean", followed close behind. It was a very unsettling time. I was fortunate to escape any damage to my home. Our neighborhood received some damage, but not to the extent of other cities. Winter Park, the home base for our running group, was hit very hard.

Once the storm had passed I could not believe the number of trees that had been torn from the ground. Huge oak trees, some hundreds of years old were now blocking streets and in some cases on top of homes.

We needed to run! We needed to be able to see our friends and know that they were OK. A number of practice runs were canceled and several organized 5K's had to be rescheduled. When we were able to meet for a run, it was an adventure run. Many areas still had entire trees across our regular running routes. We would try to follow an alternate, only to find it blocked too. The street I recall being the worst was Pennsylvania Ave., in Winter Park. It seemed that we could run about 50 feet before another tree brought our run to a halt. I'm not sure if we ever managed to run more than a mile or two. Devastation was everywhere!

The long range forecast is that storms are "looming" in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. We can hope and pray that we here in Orlando, the State of Florida, and the United States are spared a repeat of 5 years ago.

Bottom line, having our fellow runners to lean on made the situation a bit more tolerable. We knew we were not alone in our experience. We were and still are a "GROUP", we are still "RUNNERS". We are strong people, but we are strongest in numbers!


ShirleyPerly said...

Yep, I remember that year of hurricanes. I was going out of town to run marathons every 1-2 weeks back then for my 21 Run Salute, worried about my house and then having to come home and clean up the mess. Sorry that happened to be your first year in Orlando!

Runner's Anonymous said...

I have another one for you. This year will be the 11 anniversary of the Labor Day storm in Syracuse. Labor Day is late again this year just like it was that year. I still remember the lightning. Never saw anything like it and hope I never do again. Thought it was strobe lights! Hopefully this fall will be much less eventful!

Donna N. said...

My was my first year in MarathonFest. I was training for Disney. I remember running through Winter Park thinking "My God it looks like a bomb went off." It was worst of times and yet it was the best of times. Seeing my friends out and about running helped me feel normal and helped me to feel like everything was going to be ok. Let's hope we don't see the likes of those storms ever again. Hear that Ana and Bill? STAY AWAY!