Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Running Is What Binds Our Friendship

When I started running, I had no idea the friendships that would come along with it.

The one friendship that stands out most in my mind is my neighbor. Over a year ago, her family invited us to come over to their house for a Family Bible Study time. When I walked into the kitchen to put down my plate of goodies, I noticed she had a race day picture on display. (Remember, this is before I ran Vegas Half). At that time, I was suffering from horrible, horrible knee problems and I had decided to take a few weeks off. We chatted for a bit about running and she brought out her Brooks shoes to show me and recommended I try them to help my knees.

That next day, I went to the shoe store and tried on my first pair of Brooks Adrenalines (and at that time, I had inserts).

While her and I didn’t run together much (she often started at 4:45am) – we did have an occasional run together. My favorite was her last taper run, before her First Full Marathon. We both had come so far, and here she was about to run a Full.

She was the first text I received after I crossed the finish line at the Vegas Half.
She was the first person at my front door the day Ladybug passed away, and the first text I received the next morning before I started my race.

Through every race I ran – she was always the first person to check on me and to see how I did. When she saw me after my injury, she cried with me as I struggled to even stand up straight to walk my dog.  

I remember anxiously waiting for her to text me as she finished her first full marathon. I paced my house all that morning.

Then, devastating news. She would be moving away. Not too far from us – about an hour and half, but it was far enough.

The day she left, I was so in so much heartache  – I remember my parting words to her, “you inspired me” and she said to me, “you…inspired me”. Even as I type this, my eyes flood with tears when I think about having to see her leave. 

The pain I felt that day was immeasurable. I felt I had lost one of the closest friends I had. I knew it would never be the same.

I would miss seeing her car outside or her texting me in a panic that she needed some celery, eggs or whatever.

I would miss those times as I was running back to the house from a run, she would be there to wave “hi”.

She was my motivation to run Snow Canyon Half, so I could run with her. Then, situations that they were – she was unable to run Snow Canyon, after all.

After Hoover Dam – I was on a high for at least a day. :)

Then, I started to think about racing Snow Canyon, without her. Oh yes, I will have other friends running with me – but she wouldn’t be. There would be a hole, no matter how much fun I was having.

Just this morning, I received a text from her that she has registered and would be running Snow Canyon.

I was in my kitchen...I SCREAMED so loud…. I am sure she heard me at her house!

After all this time – we get to run a race together. My family will be at the finish line (including my dogs!) and hopefully, I can keep up with her!

Regardless, this will be a good race. A race that has been over the year in the making. Two friends who love to run – will now be in the same race.

But, she will be in Brooks Adrenalines and I will be in Brooks T7’s.

I can’t wait to have the post-race picture with her. We deserve it. I REALLY don't care about what the Medal looks like or even if I PR....it's about running this race with her, finally.

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Running Coach & Public Speaker
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