Two years ago this past week I made my way to the Chalet at Elm Creek in the early morning light. I was nervous, would I gel with the group, would I find someone who runs my pace, would I be too slow or too fast? As I pulled into the parking lot I saw a gaggle of women in brightly colored outfits standing around chatting. I made my way to the group and introduced myself. With introductions out of the way, we set out for a few loops.
As the group started running, we naturally fell in step. Slowly you and I broke away from the others. We easily fell into conversation and I felt at ease. The next few Saturdays, we found ourselves running together again. I started looking forward to my long training runs more than I had in a very long time. With the same goal of going sub-4 at the Twin Cities Marathon in the fall, I had found my training partner.
All summer, we ran for hours at a time. While we ran we talked about a little bit of everything, getting to know each other. We talked about everything from our favorite post-long run treats to family and how we thought our kids would likely never give up nursing (thank goodness they finally did right?!). We found things we had in common like weaknesses for ice cold Coke and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. We learned how to push each other without making one another miserable. That fall, not only did we both achieve our sub-4 goals, we smashed them.
Since that first summer two years ago, between us we’ve trained for five more marathons. Every season growing stronger and faster. We’ve talked through losing loved ones, family discord and way too much about my nasty stomach issues. We’ve laughed and definitely complained as we trained our asses off. These runs served as therapy and entertainment. Your perpetually sunny outlook on life was infectious.
This spring as we trained for what we both hoped would be our first Boston qualifying marathon, we reflected many times on our previous training. We’d come so far. Training with you had pushed me to a place I never dreamed possible. I knew that we were on the brink of achieving something we never thought possible that first summer. I had a feeling as we got on the bus together that morning, we were both going to do it. We were both going to qualify. After I crossed the finish line, I hurried back to watch you. Watching you, my BRF, cross the finish line, arms in the air, brought tears to my eyes. I was so proud of you! Proud to be your training partner and your friend.
On our runniversary, I needed to take a moment to thank you. Thanks for spending hours on end with me before anyone should be out of bed on a Saturday morning. Thank you for bitching with me all the way up that damn Fernbrook hill. Thank you for pushing me, motivating me and inspiring me to do more. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for helping Minnesota feel like home. Thank you for just being you.