Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Friends are gifts

Last week, my nieces’ friend/classmate/fellow athlete was killed in a car accident.  She was driving with two other friends in the car, apparently lost control, and hit a tree.  She died at the scene.  Fortunately, her two friends, though injured, are expected to survive.  Unfortunately, it is believed that none were wearing seatbelts.  A beautiful young 16 year old….gone in an instant.

This terrible tragedy brought some sad memories flooding back for me.  Back when I was about 22 years old, I lost my friend Ellen in a car accident.  Driving home alone, she hit a tree located in the highway median strip.  This bright, bubbly, beautiful, funny girl was gone.  I looked up to Ellen.  She was a few years older than I and was just so great to be around.  We worked together, but we laughed together more.  On that Friday, I remember waving goodnight to her and offering the casual, “See you Monday!” It was a week before Christmas and it was far from festive, with Monday never arriving for Ellen.

I have friends who have come and gone through normal situations that are a part of life.  I have friends who I’ve reignited the flame with; I have friends I had to let go of because the relationship had grown toxic.  I have work friends, running friends, puppy friends, and of course, Facebook and Blogger friends.  I smile at the unexpected text from a friend that simply says, “Hi” or “I miss you”.  Through my old and my new friends, I feel truly blessed.  Friends like Ellen were perhaps only meant to come along in a short, but meaningful way.  Others like my nieces’ friend will stay frozen in time as a youthful 16 year old.  Both were gone too soon, but I believe both packed such a punch, that even though their lives were short in length, what they brought us was something big enough to remember for a very long time.

The other night, we had a surprise visit from a friend and her children.  Actually, we technically never saw them.  They knocked on the door and fled.  But before fleeing, they left this –

They made our night.  And I think we made theirs….by not catching them!

When we give ourselves wholeheartedly to friends and receive the same back, it’s such an amazing and satisfying feeling.  Gifts are meant for giving, but with friendship, it is meant to be given and received – at the same time.

Friends are truly gifts. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Paying it forward

A couple years ago, I had my sights on the Cape Cod Marathon.  I trained and felt ready, but by mile 19, the wind had beaten me up..  That’s when Meaghan jumped in!  She ran alongside or in front of me (whatever was needed) to help me get passed that “ick” feeling of the final stretch of the marathon.  It was the best feeling ever to have someone there to help me through those moments that we all have that come in the form of “OMG, why do I do this?!” and “I just want to stop”.  Having her there turned those thoughts into, “I just have to hang on until I see Meaghan”.

On Sunday, I got a chance to pay it forward.  The race:  Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon.  The runner:  Carrie. 

Scott and I set up shop at somewhere between miles 9 & 10.  It was spitting out and a bit windy.  We were dressed for the weather, armed with our cowbells, and ready to cheer.  As runners started approaching, we started watching for our friends.  We saw Karen first, who was running Rockfest Half in preparation for Baystate Marathon in a few weeks.  She looked strong and happy.  Next, a runner approached us and yelled, “Hey, are you Lisa waiting for Carrie?”  I didn’t know this girl, so probably had a big question mark on my forehead.  She continued running passed us and yelled back, “I’m Jen from DailyMile!”.  Scott is aware of all the social media of course, but doesn’t partake.  He was stunned and cracking up at the same time.

Next arrived Carrie – a bit faster than we had anticipated.  She looked good too; very focused.  Knowing I was meeting her at mile 20, I made a mental note of the time I saw her blow by us.  A short time later came Sue and Kellie.  This was Kellie’s first marathon and they looked great!  They were keeping a nice, conservative pace and seemingly had not succumbed to the “going out too fast” bug most newbies (and not-so-newbies) are bitten by.

From there, I started peeling off layers to prepare for my run.  Scott and I ran to mile 20 (double loop, so it wasn’t that far) and waiting for Carrie.  Picking her up just before mile 20, we fell into step with her.  Scott cut through a side street to get back to the car and a group of runners “called him out” that he “cut the course”.  He assured them he wasn’t actually running in the race and continued on.

For me, the 6.2 miles was so much fun!  We talked - and then didn’t.  I ran slightly ahead of Carrie and tried to keep an eye on both the pace as well as her body language.  She seemed OK, so I continued to push the pace.  I didn’t push the pace in a dangerous/bonk kind of way, but just tried to keep her from slowing down.  I know full well how miles 20 – 26.2 feel, so I rode the clutch a bit – pushing, then easing up a touch, pushing some more.

As we approached the finish, I peeled off to the side and she finished her race.  She obliterated her old 3:56 PR with a brand spanking new 3:42 PR!  Did I contribute?  Probably.  Does she owe me anything?  Hell no.  I got such a charge out of pacing her.  The fact that she got herself trained and prepared, both physically and mentally, to run a marathon was ALL HER.  I was thrilled to be a small part of something big.  And now that I’ve been the pacee and the pacer, I see that both roles are equally rewarding.

Looks like Carrie sees it too, since she will plan on pacing Karen in her final miles of her marathon in a few weeks.  Paying it forward….

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tapering sympathy pains

My goal tomorrow is to achieve a “supporting PR” at Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon!  Sue, Kellie, and Carrie are running the full; Karen is running the half as preparation for Baystate later this month.  Meaghan’s off to tackle Wineglass Marathon.  All are eagerly awaiting the start of their races….

And so am I!!!

Seriously, you’d think I was running tomorrow.  I’ve got course maps, cow bells, extra waters for our friends, and my own running stuff that will enable me to help run Carrie through that final 10K part of the race.  

And with that, I’m pretty sure I’m having taper sympathy pains….
  • This morning, I felt achy knees
  • After achy knees came an achy right hip
  • I craved pasta today and shoveled it in like it was my job
  • And I’m just overall cranky today.

Yep, sure fire signs of a tapering marathoner. 

I’m guessing I will over-carbo-load later as many do the night before, have a terrible bout with insomnia (what’s new), and awaken tomorrow with butterflies.  So, my running friends, I am experiencing it right alongside you!  I’m excited for you all to have great races and can’t wait to celebrate your awesome accomplishments!

Have fun!!!!