Making the most of it

| May 03, 2010

Editor’s note: Truckers News columnist and blogger Jeff Clark sent the following update by e-mail from his truck, stranded on I-40 west of Nashville on May 3, the day after severe flooding left multiple freeways and other roads closed and many truckers stranded.The e-mail was received around 10:15 a.m.

Last night around 6 p.m. I stopped at Franklin, Ky. My run was from Cincinnati to Memphis. The word was out that I-40 was closed between Nashville and Memphis, and I wanted to gather some reliable information. Tenn. DOT has a website that did not help. AM 650 out of Nashville was reporting on the problem. I-40 was backed up at the 203 mile marker. The road had been closed but was going to open around 7p.m.  So I went.

That was a mistake. I have been sitting here for well over 12 hours, and they have no idea when the highway is going to reopen. So, I went for a run. The cops said it was OK, and I ran right down the middle of the interstate. One Tenn. DOT official stopped me and asked if I was OK. Yeah, I told him, other than being kind of old and a little slow, I am just fine. He just laughed and told me that I could keep running.  So I did. My goal was to run a nice, easy four miler. The Green Bay Marathon is just 13 days away, and the training has left me with dead legs. We have begun the taper. For the last couple of weeks before a marathon you back off on the miles. That brings your legs back to life — so you can kill them again the day of the marathon.

I hit the 2 mile point at 20:01 on my Garmin. Time to turn around and go back. On the way back I could see a TV camera interviewing a bunch of fellow stranded travelers at the Sam’s Club. They started hootin’ and a-hollerin’ at me. Of course I did the same back. Nothing that I enjoy in a marathon more than  the exchanges between me and the crowd. Why should this be any different? It was a fun, good-natured exchange.

Seriously, this could be a terrible situation. It isn’t. It is the people that make it tolerable. I went and got six  cups of coffee at the gas station and gave them to the cops on the way back from my run. They had been up all night and appreciated it. They were nice, and I appreciated them. The truckers are slowly making it a social event. The four wheelers are asking the truckers what I going on.  They are asking us with respect. We don’t see that everyday. Maybe some good will come from this.

Jeff Clark is a trucker, a grandfather and an eight-time marathon (26.2 miles) finisher. He is dedicated to helping truckers improve their health through better habits. You can contact him at marathontrucker@yahoo.com.

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