A few words about my favorite training partner:
It has been almost a decade since we’ve actually physically run together, but she’s one of my biggest supporters and motivators.
We ran cross-country together in high school for a team so small, we barely qualified for competition. Somehow, despite this fact, we didn’t always lose.
I can’t remember a race we didn’t finish together. I also can’t remember having to wait up for her, or having to pick up the pace to keep up.
We were true middle-of-the-packers. In one divisional race, we were handed popsicle sticks denoting our place finish among hundreds of other runners. The numbers on our two sticks were literally the number of people in the race divided by two.
After dozens of hill workouts together, we can communicate solely by spitting and grunting. We try to limit that to while we’re running.
We rewarded our long runs (anything longer than 3 miles at that point) with Hey Daddy bagels, perhaps the best thing to come out of New Jersey besides the Boss (and, of course, us).
We reward long runs with glasses of wine now. We haven’t lived in the same place for a decade. But we still call to congratulate each other after a race. In fact, my marathon finish didn’t feel real until I talked to Jen on the phone afterwards while soaking in the longest ice bath known to man. It’s a testament to our friendship and her conversational skills that the 30-minute ice bath flew by.
I peer-pressured her into running a half marathon around the same time I ran that marathon. She had a great finish, but I think I speak for both of us in saying the finish of either race was far from the best part. It was the way we’d call each other at random times throughout the day to talk about training: our aches and pains, our preference in long-run fuel and the best kind of recovery drink (we like chocolate milk). These topics inevitably led to longer talks about husbands and jobs and life and stuff.
Jen came to visit last weekend with the third member of our trio, Alexis, who didn’t run with us but is an avid cheerleader and supporter in running and in life. Jen and I didn’t get a chance to run together. But we did set a date.
We’re going to do the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia on May 3. With almost 20,000 runners, it bills itself as the largest 10-miler in the United States. I imagine Jen and I will finish right around 10,000. I’m sure we’ll be side by side.