“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is for them...
After a winter of hard training, challenging weather, nipping burgeoning injuries and illnesses in the bud, succumbing to other injuries - We all converge on Colorado: Me, Cecilia, Sandra, Esther, Jeni. All of us have trained through a hard winter cycle, all preparing for the Colorado Marathon or Half Marathon.
And now the time is here.
My original plan was to run the Marathon, but as many already know, I did a butthead, and hurt myself. After missing Boston, my goal race, I am unwilling to mess myself up for any of my other planned races. Over the past few weeks, weeks where I have been (conspicuously?) silent here, I've been trying to allowing things to sink in, gel, ferment, sort out - because I try to learn from the bad and the good - I have become aware of a fair amount of judgement thrown my way - either to my face, passive-aggressively, or behind my back - "How can she be a good coach when she injured herself?" It's a natural, and ummmm, stupid question for anyone who knows that there are ALWAYS risks when one pushes their limits. I'm no more immune to this human frailty than anyone else - and so I got hurt because I wanted to see where I could go. This was not a case of hubris, but simply seeking my best...and I'll be back, and I'll probably (most certainly) hurt myself again. Them's the risks. Learn, move on...learn some more... I hope I'm smarter now or that really would be a stupid shame. But it's easy to just ignore the lessons and foist abuse and blame on one's self and others.
I mention all of this because, due to my injury, my role this past weekend shifted from being primarily a fellow runner in the race to, first and foremost, a coach and friend supporting the other runners.
This is gonna be interesting.
And so they arrive - from Wisconsin, Illinois, New Jersey...And the fun begins.
Then back to the hotel, splits are written on arms, teeth brushed...and...Zzzzzzz. And I did actually sleep a little, another bonus since I never do much of that before a marathon.
3 a.m. and Sandra's alarm starts singing "Wake up, wake up, wake up, it's a brand new day..." loud and clear along with Jeni's 'nuclear accident warning siren' sound alarm! Ahhheeee. And, I'm trying to keep it on the down-low, but I'm hacking, just a bit...Shhhhhhh. Don't tell anyone.
We eat a bit, drink copious amounts of coffee and pile into the car. I drop Cecilia, Esther and Jeni off outside the parking garage so they can catch one of the last marathon buses. I wish them strong legs and lungs and say for the umpteenth time, "Please, do not go out too fast". Then hugs and they shut the doors, disappearing into the anonymous darkness. I take a deep breath, look at Sandra, "I feel like I just dropped my kids off at college. It's out of my hands now." It's about 4:30 a.m. We park the car and catch our bus to the half marathon start.
It is freaking cold and dark at the starting area - and we have an hour to kill - and some dill-weed stole all the toilet paper from the port-o-potties! Seriously bad GI karma raining down on those poor souls for some time I pray.
As the sun begins to come up we start getting ready to run. My toes are completely numb but I know that won't last, so I strip down to as little as possible, teeth frantically chattering. I add on one toss-away t-shirt. And then we're off and all is well with the world again because I'm running at last, checking in with Sandra...in my element. This is not my race, this is Sandra's race, and I actually really enjoy that thought.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ~ Anais Nin