Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Little Dedication

Dedication. If you are a runner, this word may be synonymous with "commitment" or "determination." But I'm using the word today in a truly literary sense. This is a dedication to my running buddy, K.

The end of summer has brought on some wonderful things. First of all, K was able to begin running again. With that came the motivation to begin running before school, in the dark and magical pre-dawn hours of the day. And as with any change in running course, these runs have opened up a new kind of running for me.

The goals are still there, and the will to improve. But there's also something serene about a 5am run. There are few cars going by; we rarely pass another runner. We park in the dark and can keep our eyes on the moon and stars as we go. Our nighttime runs are usually filled with chatter as we catch each other up on our days; I love those runs, but the morning runs have introduced me to a strong, quiet, and deep solidarity.

It may sound weird, but it's almost intimate. Just you, the darkness, the road, and your buddy.

There is something really beautiful about these early runs. Getting out of bed is so, so difficult, but I find myself loath to miss a day, and even the runs that are a struggle leave me feeling centered.

There is no rush to gradepapers-eatdinner-digest-run-shower-packalunch-setupcoffeemaker-getintobedbeforeten. These 5am runs leave my body relaxed and my mind at peace.

So back to the topic of this dedication. In 2009, I set this goal to become a runner. When I started work, that could have easily fallen by the wayside. Think about how many people you've seen who want to improve at something - anything - outside of work, but succumb to the lethargy and fatigue of a long day. I know that I so easily could have been that person. I am not naturally competitive, with myself or others, and giving up has always come too easily for me.

But K was a lifeline. When I started work, there she was; and when I mentioned I liked to run, so did she. It began with barely 3/4 mile runs right after school and progressed into a Half marathon and a complex, rewarding, and refreshingly honest friendship.

I know, based on things she's said and her own blog, that in her time off from running for pregnancy #2, she sometimes felt jealous as I continued to log miles. But, K, I need to give you credit here. I would never have kept up with my running without your influence. Even on days you weren't there, you were there. There are a million times I could have quit. A million days when a well-timed text suggesting a run forced me back into a routine. So for all your "Great job, girl!" exclamations, I'm telling you to take some credit. You helped make me the runner I am today. (But don't stop praising me because of this - your praise means more than any other, because you get it.)

I'd like to end this on a note about the Olympics. The track/field competitions were exhilarating, breath-taking, astounding. I loved every race I got to see. But women's beach volleyball is what really stole my heart this summer. Watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings fight to prove they are the best in the world was extremely emotional for me. Every point they scored sent them hugging. Every close call saw them both screaming in support of each other. The way they communicated, pushed each other, forced each other to be better than they ever thought possible...

Really, who could ask for more? A perfect, awesome, excellent, wonderful partner-in-crime to motivate you when you're lacking spirit? A confidant you respect completely on all matters, sport-related or otherwise? Friendly competition that pushes for your success as much as her own?

I really couldn't have gotten luckier. I'm so glad to have my running buddy back, and I'm so ready for us to kick butt this year - individually regarding our own goals, and together as a running duo that won't let anything slow us down.
January 2011, Half Marathon, after K finished & came back to run the last 1/2 mile with me!


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