We sat at a table, drinking hot beverages and noshing on bagels. It’s a familiar scene, but one that we haven’t recreated in some time. Sue’s job took her to New York City. Nicole moved to Boston. I stayed in Buffalo. That’s what happens. Life takes us in different directions.
But Sunday afternoon, the band was back together, if only for an hour. Sue and I ventured to Delaware Park where local runners had organized a Boston Marathon Solidarity Run. It was an informal event to bring the Buffalo running community together to show support for Boston, support for other runners and to raise money for charity. We arrived early for our respective long runs and were impressed, then slightly taken back, by the number of runners who filtered into the park for the event. After many miles of solo training, this was an extraordinarily special treat for me.
Sue also happens to be writing my training plan and since I was six days away from race day, the plan called for just 8 miles at an easy pace. A very easy pace. Ridiculously easy pace. And Sue was by my side to ensure that I stuck with the plan. But it was sunny. I felt fantastic. And there were people around. We passed one park entrance where a sound system was blaring music. “I love this song!” I said.
“That’s nice,” Sue said. “Slow down. You can’t pick up the pace.”
“But I can dance, right?”
“Yes, you can dance.”
Fun, you see, is always allowed.
In many ways it was the typical long run I’ve come to share with Sue (and Nicole, but she’s sidelined at the moment with an injury and met up with us later). We talked about my race plan for Saturday. We talked about our training. We talked about races we’ve done, reliving some of the horribly funny moments from trips to Miami and St. Petersburg. We talked about potential fall races. We complained a bit. OK. Maybe more than a bit. And at times we ran in silence, just enjoying the morning, the company and the sport we love.
When we met up with Nicole there were more stories. Some solemn, some silly. It has been some time since I heard Nicole unleash her wit and the phrase, “shut the front door.” And the whole thing made me smile. I may not get to spend as much time with some of my favorite people as I’d like. But moments like these can be stored up and called upon when I’m on some dark, lonely mile. Moments like these serve as proof that in reality, I’m never really alone on those dark, lonely miles.