It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Some people say that with a smile and an exclamation point and lots of heart emojis! Some people say it through clenched teeth with squinty eyes reminiscent of The Grinch on Christmas Eve. Either way, the day that we show all those special people in our lives how much they mean to us is just on the horizon. So…as I was thinking about the cards and candy I have to buy and the treats I will have to make for school, I realized that there is no better time than now to tell my running buddies just how much they mean to me!
And here are just a few reasons why. ( This list is not all inclusive and does not include many many many other running buddies I have!!) Two weeks ago on a chilly Sunday morning several of us met at the track for a run. This was to be my first real run since I got hurt (yes, sorry, there will be more whining about that in this post). The night before I was a total bundle of nerves. I had no idea how it was going to go. I was scared that I would run 5 feet and need to stop. That illogical voice in my head that pesters me more than I like to admit was shouting, “You are going to suck. Plain and simple. And you are going to be embarrassed. And these women are going to look at you and laugh and say, ‘So sorry. You are no longer on our half marathon team. You are not worthy. Go home’. Now, the logical side of my brain yelled back, “of course they wouldn’t say that. They are the nicest bunch of people you’d ever want to meet”. And that is the truth. But- as I have warned you before, I am a bit of a nut case so logic isn’t always victorious in these arguments. True to form, I woke up about five times during the night all anxious to pull on my tights and head out the door. When that time finally came, I pulled on the tights I laid out and hated the way they felt. Picked out another pair, had to change them too. Where are my gloves? I hate this shirt. My shoes feel too tight. Shit. This shouldn’t be this hard. I just could not pull it together. I made it out the door with mismatched clothes and some crazy hair and headed to the track. With shaky hands I pull into the lot and almost turned around. I seriously hadn’t felt this nevous for a really long time. But then I saw her. Super Friend #1 we will call her. She was dressed in grey sweats with a knit cap looking like Rocky Balboa. Like the serious bad-ass that she is. It put an instant smile on my face and got me out of the car. If she is here after her cross fit competition the day before, I certainly could jog around that track a few times. (And let me mention that she came in third out of 35- told you she was a bad ass).
I enter the track and see Super Friends #2 and #3. Super Friend #2 is wearing her usual great big smile which is literally contagious. Dressed in a bright pink adorable sweatshirt- her personality glowed as brightly as her clothes! Super Friend #3 shares how her kids were out of the house- yes gone- for the night. She could have slept in, had coffee, laid around in her pjs with no one to bother her but guess what!?! She didn’t. She came out to run. It’s no wonder her other nickname is “The Boss”. Now in comes Mama K who takes one look at me and knows that everything about me is just wrong. She laughs out loud at my clothes, calls me a raga-muffin, and as she always does, lifts me out of my funk and gets me excited to move forward. Our last Super Friend enters the track about this time and get this, she just came from a 12 our shift at the hospital. Yeah, 12 hours. And she SHOWED UP! So now I say to my illogical mind demon- “go ahead- try to Freakin stop me. It is an honor to be here with these ladies. I’m off!” And off I went. Me-1. Mind Demon- 0. Thank you girls.
Fast forward to today. Our Disney half is only 3 weeks away and I have not put in near the miles that I need to for this race. Mind Demon is having a field day with this info. Luckily, Super Friend #4 and Mama K agree to meet me this afternoon to pound the pavement. And thank goodness they did. The thought of getting through a long run alone was crippling me most of the week. But, a very busy weekend kept my mind off it for a bit! Before I knew it, it was time to go! I made sure I matched my clothes (so I didn’t look like a ragamuffin again) and headed out. (I have a great picture of us but can’t get it to load- hopefully Mama K can add it in the comments). We ran in a business park which is a large loop so we got to see and encourage each other often! And today was perfect- we ran in tank tops in January. There is no beating that! The first few miles were pretty good. I didn’t feel horrible, the sun was warm, Mind Demon was well contained. But then it started to happen. The breakdown began. as I started to slip- Super Friend #4 was heading out. She had the biggest smile on her face- her positive attitude was impossible to avoid. I captured some of it, hiked up my tights and kept plodding through. But not unexpectedly, the breakdown started again. I whined, I complained, I walked, I whined some more. And you know what? Mama K was by my side through the thick of it. And because she was there, I also did a good amount of laughing and smiling too! Not only did she get me through the rest of that run, she inspireded me to do a mile more than I planned! I don’t remember exactly but I’m pretty sure she carried me for most of it. Well, at least proverbially she did. Me-2. Mind Demon- still 0!
So thank you my friends from the bottom of my sneakers for helping me through this training! Happy Valentine’s Day to you my friends and running buddies everywhere! Thank you for inspiring me each and every day. I only hope that someday I can repay the favor!
This is the song that has been playing in my head since I got home- “Lean on me, when you’re not strong. I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on. For, it won’t be long till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on”.
Run happy, with friends.