Tuesday, March 1, 2016


"We rise by lifting others."
~ Robert Ingersoll

Yesterday I joined my running partner, Kirsten, for a long run.  She had to get 19 miles in and I only had to do 12, so she ran 7 beforehand and then picked me up.  She's currently training for a May marathon and her mileage is just beginning to ramp up.  Normally, I'd be right there with her, as we often do the same races.  But, since I just ran LA, I'm in maintenance mode instead which feels lovely if not a bit odd.  As we set off, I was thrilled to be out on the road.  The sun was shining and it was a balmy 55 degrees outside.  We settled into an easy pace and caught each other up on our week-ends.  Around mile 5 (mile 12 for her) we were staring down (er....up) a nasty hill.  Our talking ceased and we dug in for the climb.  All in, we gained about 200 feet of elevation over the distance of a mile.  It doesn't matter if you're in the heat of marathon training or out for a joyrun, an elite runner or a weekend warrior, a hill like this is a bitch to get over.  We caught our breath as the road flattened out and reset ourselves for the next 6 miles.  Kirsten was really tired at this point.  Rightly so.  Me?  I was a mess.  Now, granted, I did run a marathon two weeks ago, but holy shit, my legs.  Talk about dead weight.  From this point forward every step hurt.  Here's the thing, though.  In the same way I did today, Kirsten joined me for almost every single one of my long runs as I trained for LA.  I had at least 8 runs over 18 miles to deal with and she was on board for part, and often, most, of all of them.  Not only that, but she'd often join me for a second run in the afternoon, not because she had to but simply because I was so unmotivated and so damn exhausted and she knew it would help.  Which it always did.  Throughout all four months of my training, she was my biggest cheerleader.  So now it's my turn.  Which brings us back to yesterday's run.  Around mile 8 (15 for her) we stopped so Kirsten could get some water at McDonalds.  I attempted to stretch out my legs which were slowly growing roots into the pavement as I waited.  I cannot express in words how badly I wanted to just sit down in the parking lot and hang out for a while.  But, I kept my mouth shut and we plowed on.  When we finally got to mile 18, I said something like, Ok, Kirst, the worst is behind us.  We got this.  To which she replied, the thought of running 8 more miles at this point is borderline unfathomable.  I reminded her that this run was coming off a very hard week of training and that running the marathon would be on fresh legs and she'd be good to go.  And to that, I think she said, my feet hurt.  Fair enough.  But, in the end, we got it done.  And what I realize now, having just gone through it myself, is that it makes me a better runner, a better person, when I play both roles.  My own running 'career', for lack of a better word, would not be nearly as rewarding if I couldn't take a back seat to my friends and fellow runners like Kirsten who are chasing their own dreams.  Sure there is reward in my own success but there is just as much if not more in the success of others.  And I know her success and any role I might have in that will have a greater impact on my own life than many other things.  So, yeah.  This time around, it's her trip.  I'm just along for the ride.  SHOTGUN!

Listen to this:
Quarks - SKYES

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