Almost a year ago, we ran our first marathon together. The Country Music Marathon. It was a race that we trained for together. We called each other on the weekends to report on our long run process. We met half-way for a half marathon prep run in February. We even ran a 20 mile training run together in Memphis. We trained hard (well, kind of hard) and it paid off. We finished and were hooked.
It was a fun race. Well, except for that part about me not being able to stop after mile 13 or so. Oh, and except for that part around mile 22 where you asked me to slow down, but I wasn't listening and just smiled and went on running. Sorry about that tricky stress fracture, dude.
Part of me can't believe it's only been a year. You've gotten married and bought a house, and I've been on about a zillion shitty ass dates and finally moved into my condo.
All this week, on my daily runs, I've reminisced while running past the start line. Centennial Park (where the race begins) is getting all prepped with it's rows and rows of port-a-potties and tents going up all over the place. I have to admit, part of me is sad that I'm not running at least the half this year. It's where we ran our first half marathon and our first marathon. It's a tough course, but it's our course, ya know?
I know that I'll run it again, maybe even next year and I know that it's going to be awesome to run the Eugene Marathon next weekend. But, regardless of where I run my next marathons... they'll never compare to that first one. Like I said in my toast at your wedding... there is a special bond that comes from running with someone for 4 hours and 46 minutes. There are so many highs and lows during a marathon. From waiting around to get started, to slapping hands with spectators as they applaud you, to feeling the pain in your knees and feet, to seeing our friends and family along the course cheering and supporting us, to crossing the finish line and immediately looking for a place where there aren't zillions of people around because I seriously thought I was going to throw up. It was an amazing experience and we got to share it together and I'm so grateful for that.
Life is full of changes and who knows if we'll ever get a chance to run a marathon together again? A marathon is a big time commitment and it's not a given that we will be able to link up again and train at the same time or be at the same pace. I hope that's not the case, obviously... but realistically speaking, we are at ages when futures aren't certain. Being able to nail down a specific date months in advance that works for both of us is going to be hard to do.
But, regardless. We've got the one. And this picture will be on my wall till I'm old and grey (and eventually it will be right next to the one of me after I've ran the boston marathon) as a reminder of that day.
So, Saturday morning... when all those runners are up at 4:00 to catch shuttles to the start line... I'll be sleeping in till 7am and then rolling out of bed, putting on my marathon tshirt and walking a block to park my ass in a tailgating chair, armed with my camera, a diet coke, some fruit and maybe a muffin or so (hey... spectators have to carb up too, ya know) to cheer the runners on.
Thanks for running and training with me and for supporting and encouraging me. I couldn't and probably wouldn't have run that first marathon without ya.