Posted by: Sarah | August 15, 2009

13.1 miles of friendship…

Tomorrow morning, at the crazy hour of 5:30 a.m., when most sane people are sound asleep on a Sunday morning, I will have already been awake for an hour and will be on my way to meet Elke.  We’ll hop on the subway, most likely surrounded only by other people wearing running clothes, race bibs pinned on their shirts, all heading uptown toward Central Park.  When we get off the train, the dawn will barely be breaking, but it will no longer feel like the middle of the night, as we find ourselves surrounded by many others like us, others who share an unspoken bond because they know that everyone around them has their own story of training, of injuries, of what drew them to this race.

This is the running community, and it’s incredible.

At dinner tonight, I looked at the other 6 ladies around me who will all be running tomorrow; I know that the people I have met since I started running a little more than a year ago have been a crucial factor in why this sport has become so important to me.  When you have run for 20 miles with a person, there are very few, if any, conversation topics that are off limits.  You motivate each other, and inspire each other, and draw energy from each other’s strength.  As I have gone through up’s and down’s with friendships, relationships, and career changes, running has kept me balanced, and the people I run with have been there with me through it all.

My motivation for training goes through its own up’s and down’s.  I’ve had races where I felt incredibly in-shape and well-prepared, and others where I know that I have not put in as many miles as I should, and do not expect to PR.  Over the past few weeks, I have stressed about the fact that my training since I finished the Lake Placid Half Marathon in June has been minimal and that I am not ready for the NYC Half tomorrow.  I have been telling myself that I need to get my ass in gear and follow a stricter schedule in order to complete another full marathon this fall.  Tonight’s pasta party, along with several “good luck” wishes from the Twitter running community, and a positive blog entry from the RunnerDude that I read tonight about being motivated by running with friends, helped remind me that not every race needs to be a PR.  It’s normal that you can’t always be in peak running shape, especially when I am still relatively new to the sport.  I am going to go out tomorrow, run around my beautiful city, and enjoy every mile of it, all 13.1 of them.

I am also incredibly excited to see how the elite women finish in this race.  Paula Radcliffe, who is an absolute phenomena, an incredible athlete, and a familiar face in this city as the 3 time winner of the NY Marathon, just announced a few days ago that she would be running.  Catherine Ndereba, who has won the NYC Half two of the three years since it began, as well as American Olympic medalist Deena Kastor will all be racing.  I’m incredibly excited to see how they place…even though they will be finished running in less than half the amount of time it will likely take me to complete the course.  When all is said and done, it’s incredible that I will be running in the same race as these women.  There are few other sports where amateurs are lucky enough to compete in the same event as world champions and Olympic medalists.

This race is for my running buddies, who give me a reason to keep coming back out to the roads, who entertain me, who keep me motivated, whom I love.

And, it’s time for bed.  Tomorrow morning will come soon enough…

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Responses

  1. Awesome post!!

    I am anxious to read how you did in the NYC Half Marathon!! It was a pretty awesome day wasn’t it?

    http://runningdowndreams.wordpress.com/


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