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September 11th

Pear Tree Point Road, Darien
My legs were very heavy, as I expected they would be, when I set out for this morning's 11.5km run after supervising the Terrigal Trotters track session at The Haven.  I plodded slowly up the early steep hills, with my legs still feeling every metre of yesterday's 30km trail run.  When the course flattened out, I felt a little better, but as soon as I hit the hills again, the fatigue returned.  I was still coughing a lot, but was happy to find that my right Achilles tendon wasn't too bad after yesterday's exertions.  Perhaps a glimmer of light at the end of that particular injury tunnel?

Looking down Long Island Sound from Pear Tree Point
Beach, Darien
As I often do on these tedious runs, I listened to the morning news programs on my radio, and heard a report on yesterday's commemorations in the US of the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  I was working in the New York area on that day, on the top floor of an office tower 30 miles north of the Twin Towers, and the events are etched in my memory.  On a very clear sunny day, we could see the smoke rising from the downtown skyline while we followed events on television, and soon sent our anxious staff home.  My company, which was a major supplier of financial information and systems to Wall Street, had a number of offices near the Twin Towers, and I was a frequent visitor to our offices and clients, including in the doomed Towers.  Sadly, six of our staff died, along with many clients.  I knew a number of people directly affected, including some later honoured for their efforts that day.  Our lives had a shadow hanging over them for many months.  Parents at my children's schools had been lost and forlorn cars in the station car parks along our line gathering dust over the ensuing months.  They were the cars of commuters who never came home.

The New York City skyline was incomplete
after September 11, 2001.
There was a pervasive sense of loss in the community, and it affected us all in many ways, large and small.  One of my favourite runs from my home in Darien, Connecticut, went along the pretty Pear Tree Point Road past Pear Tree Point Beach.  Although they were 35 miles away across Long Island Sound, on a clear day it had been possible to get a glimpse of the Twin Towers from a couple of points along the road, something we enjoyed showing our visitors.  It's trivial in the scheme of things, but for our remaining time in Darien I rarely ran past those points without looking in the direction of Manhattan and experiencing a visceral feeling that something was missing.