Hello, dear Blog Diary, how I’ve missed you.
Out running 8 miles on my own this past weekend, I got to thinking about the unsung heroes of the running world: our athletic supporters.
I’d gotten so used to weekend long runs with Sam cycling by my side that doing it solo made me realize how much we runners depend on non-runners to tough it out. I’m one of those people who needs to be as light as possible, so having Sam hold my extra water bottle has been helpful. And it’s nice to have company besides an Ipod and the occasional “How ya doin” nod to others on the bike path, at least until it becomes hard to trot and convo at the same time.
I remembered the time Mary and I were doing my first-ever 20 miles. Her hubby Joe packed the car with extra drinks and led the way for us, providing rest stops along the muggy way. Once he was driving slowly just ahead us, which caused another driver to slow down and ask us defenseless females if everything was okay. We laughed at the idea of ‘Poor Joe’ as he’s often known being mistaken for a creeper.
It made me appreciate the people who came out for me along the way of my two marathons and one half-marathon. I know I wouldn’t have made it thru that first 26 without Jean’s chipper chatter from mile 18 to the finish line. And then there was Dave holding up an evocative sign for me half way: ‘You Will Finish.’ It was the first time anyone had done that for me, and it gave me a little push towards the second half of that grueling route.
I thought of my family coming to my rescue at my second 26 during unprecedented hot October weather, providing me with a fresh bandana, a washcloth for my face and another water bottle to help me reset myself for the miles ahead. And my daughter and her friend also came my rescue at the finish line with congratulations…and fresh clothes.
I thought back to the other races I’ve done, and how I often cried because there was no one rooting for me as I ran my way from new widow to new runner. Once in awhile, a family member or friend managed to come out for me, but most of the time it was a lonely walk back to the car with my free shirt.
My first competitive running challenge is coming up on 3/18, the NYC Half Marathon. Sam will accompany me to the start and see me off. The next time I see him will be at the finish line with dry clothes, a fresh water bottle and a big hug. His smiling face will be more tonic than any chocolate milk recovery drink could ever provide.
If that’s not a metaphor for a relationship, I don’t know what is.