10 years ago I started running. Not certain of the exact date but I know it was end of May beginning of June in 1998.
I started slow, very slow. I couldn't run a mile in its entirety. I would have to stop and walk. So I went by time. I would run/walk 20 minutes in one direction and then turn around and come back. By the end of June I able to run for an hour or 6 miles. In November I ran the Atlanta Half Marathon. I finished in around 2 hours.
And for the past 10 years I have been running solo. But now, after 10 years of running, I have gone and gotten myself a running partner.
I am so excited!
Her name is Sam and she has 4 (!!!!!) kids. Ages 10 to 1. She was a runner and has even done some triathlons. But has gotten out of shape since baby #4. Her 6 year old was in Carmella's class last year and is on the swim team with her. She also has a 3 year old and a 10 year old.
Yesterday at swim practice she approached me and said "I need to talk to you." Immediately I look around to see where Beau is and ask, "Uh oh, am I in trouble?"
She said maybe. And then said she sees me running all the time. I immediately relax having had this conversation before about how far and how often and how crazy I am.
But that isn't the conversation we have.
Instead she tells me that she wants to run and needs someone to run with, but it has to be early. My heart almost leaps out of my chest with love for this woman. Someone else, who lives close to me, that wants to run at the butt crack of dawn? Be still my heart.
Before she can even finish I say "I can meet you in at the front of your neighborhood at 5 am tomorrow. Can you run 5-6 miles?"
She hesitates, saying that she is only up to 4 miles but is certain she can do a 9-10 minute mile (her best half time is 1:53). I say that is fine-- if you can run 4 miles you can run 5 or 6. I assured her the pace would be fine. My body has no desire to run fast in the morning and I need days to run that pace anyway. I can go hard other times and besides, she will get faster. I told her that so long as she can go for about an hour we are good.
And at 4:54 am I bounded out my door, sans ipod, with Lola and my pocket knife and ran the 3/4 mile to meet her at the front of her neighborhood. As I ran I worried that she wouldn't be there. I was nervous that I would have to run in the scary morning dark all by myself. And let me say, that yesterday? When I ran at 10am for the 2 miles I ran in the woods during my 9 miler I sprinted because I was so freaked out by the possibility of rabid coyotes and raccoons. So yeah,running alone in the predawn dark is just not something I want to do. At all.
But as I came down the street there she was: standing under the street light with her dog waiting for me. See, not only do I have a running partner but so does Lola! How great is that?
And we ran the entire hilly loop and she did great! No walking. Just chatting the whole time. The miles flew by!
And now, I am thinking that, in a few weeks, I bet I could convince her to get up at 4:30 and we could do 10 miles. And yes, I have already thought that by the end of the summer we can get up even earlier and get a jump on marathon training. (No, she hasn't said that she wants to run marathon but I can tell. She will want to.)
Of course, she did mention that they might be moving in 6 months back to Canada but whatever 6 months of morning runs is plenty of time for me to get over my fear of the dark and possibly even recruit another running partner.