Saturday, July 29, 2017

Running with Lady-Friends

One of the many things I love about running is that it's usually a great source of alone time.  As an introvert, I prize alone time.  As much as I love working at a place where I get to meet an interact with so many families, kids, and amazing teachers, too much time around people really drains my batteries.  Running solo - especially with no headphones! - is a great way for me to hit the re-set button.

However, there is seriously something to be said for running with other people.  Cribbed from my all time favorite running (and life) podcast, Two Gomers Run for Their Lives which you should listen to immediately from start to finish, whenever Marc and I run together we make a date of it - it's a Romance Run!  It's a great opportunity for us to catch up with each other, especially since our schedules are usually opposite and we don't get a ton of time together during the week.  Also, his long legs almost always push my pace, which is great for me in my new quest to work on my speed! More on that next week...

Today's entry, though, is really about honoring my running lady-friends.  (Sorry, Marcus!)

Laura, Luisa, me, & Lisa.
I didn't get the "L" name memo...
There are four exceptional ladies who are also integral sources of inspiration in my running life.  We don't usually run together as much as I'd like, although Laura and I went through most of our respective 9:1 journey running together and had an amazing run this morning, but knowing they are out there crushing it always gives me more motivation and more heart.

Soup Sisters!
My best friend Lisa is probably the person who's most responsible for my turn toward living a healthier life that I took after college - although I'm not sure if she knows it.  After graduation, I really wasn't sure what to do with my life, but I knew I could do four things - 1. Start running (because I secretly always wanted to even though I always used asthma to get out of it) 2. Do more yoga (I was just starting to really fall in love with it) 3. Join a gym and 4. Eat vegetables sometimes  (And maybe stop eating chicken nuggets multiple times a week)  Without even meaning to, Lisa showed me a stellar example of how to take care of yourself and value health and the one body that you get in this life.  We almost never get to run together, and our busy lives never intersect as much as we want, but running the women's only mini-10K together was an amazing experience that I will always treasure.  It was the longest race she had ever done, which blows my mind because her seemingly effortless commitment to healthy living has always made her an inspiration to me.

Laura has taught me the art of
race pictures.  Bk Half, 2016
My running wife (I think it's official now) and work wife and partner in multiple crimes Laura did track & field in high school, but didn't run much (or at all, I think!) when we first became friends ten (!!!) years ago.  When I started getting into the half marathon & marathon distance, she joined the chorus of many people who were amazed and claimed they could never do it.  Fast forward, and she has run probably more half marathons than I have at this point, and is training for the Goofy Challenge - the Disney half marathon and then the very next day, the Disney Marathon!  The girl has become a running machine and was one of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders during my injury and my subsequent return to running.  We've run the Brooklyn Half twice together and I am so beyond happy she has discovered her passion for running.

You can check out her chronicles on the Road to the Goofy Challenge on her awesome YouTube channel, Laura Runs and Eats.  Subscribe!  She's hilarious and awesome.

Lu crushing this year's Brooklyn Half.
My lovely friend Luisa was a runner and overall ridiculously healthy person when I met her three years ago.  Vegetarian, meditator, non-smoker, runner - all the boxes were checked.  Unfortunately, cancer didn't seem to give a damn about any of that when she was diagnosed last July.

Inspirational isn't a strong enough word, and I can't do justice in describing what she went through with her diagnosis, her treatment, and her long, hard road to remission and recovery.  Today, she is cancer free (YAHOO!) and getting stronger and stronger.  She was a runner before cancer changed her life, and now she is running to help others afflicted by it.  Lu is running the 2017 NYC Marathon (!!!!!) with Fred's Team, raising money to support leukemia research at Sloan-Kettering which provided her with truly life-saving care.  Please please please click here to donate to her fundraising effort!  She already crushed her original goal of $3,500 and is now stepping it up to $5,000.  I'm pretty sure she'll be able to step it up one more time before November...just sayin' . Let's get here there!  And while you're at it, read her blog.  She's an incredible writer, and you need to read what she has to say.

At the marathon. Best sister ever.
Finally, I would be totally remiss not to mention my sister and very first running partner, Megan.  She started running very shortly after I did, and always having been the natural athlete between the two of us, really took off.  We ran our first race distances together - first 5K in Williamsburg, VA (I thought I was going to die), first 10K in Charleston, SC (also thought I was going to die), and our very first half marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC (funnily enough, that one felt fantastic!).  We planned to run our first marathon together at Disney, but fetal Atlas & Zoe got in the way of her plans.  She has always been there for me, commiserating over our struggles to eat healthy vs. eat everything because running gives you a great excuse to do that, sharing tips when we were running together, and providing tons of support when I've been running and she hasn't been able to - which has been the dynamic for the past three and a half years.  We haven't run together since a 2014 Turkey Trot - which we took easy, since she had just found out she was pregnant (with, we assumed, one baby...ah, the innocent old days).

Luckily for her, she found a phenomenal surgeon who has helped her get through the considerable challenges that having two back-to-back pregnancies had left her with.  I wrote last week about how she's been recovering beautifully, and her recovery gets more impressive every week.  She finally has a functional core again, and the more time that goes by the closer she'll be to fully recovered.  There's a laundry list of reasons why this surgery has been amazing for her, but I have to say I'm so excited about my most selfish reason - we can finally run together again.  We always have good conversations when we run, and considering our last running conversation was all about anticipation of her first baby...we have a lot to talk about on our next one!

April of 2008, after our very first 10K...who are these people???

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