Today we received the e-mail confirmation for "The Dirty Half". Not that the cashing of the check wasn't enough to get our ticket for the clue bus that we actually did in fact get in. Now it is "officially" official. I'm excited. Well, let's not go that far, let's say I'm cautiously optimistic at this point. But that is a far cry from where I was last week at this time. I'm putting in my miles and meeting with my new found hero Olivia to teach me some tricks of the trade to keep my legs working properly. The ability to finish this is no longer my fear. My biggest fear is that I have to do it alone.
When I first decided this would be a good idea I had managed to lasso two of my boot camp buddies to run it with me. We all sent in our entry forms and waited for the news. Well, I thought we all sent them in. Turns out they pulled a fast one on me and did not send theirs in. So now it is just me and Sean. Sean won't even be in the same wave start as me (when he runs it actually looks like running), so it is just me, myself and I running in wave three. Yes there will be others there, but not "my" others.
Running is labeled as an individual sport. Iron Maiden immortalized the concept in their epic ballad "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner". Talk to almost any runner and they will tell you about the work or personal problems they solved while on a run. They love the solace they feel while running, the peace, the clarity, the centered nature of the run. I've heard of it, I admire it, I would love to experience it! But there is one small problem, just one minute detail.....I hate running alone. I hate it so much that I never do it. Seriously you say?" Seriously" I answer. NEVER.
Now you might wonder how one who is surrounded by 30 needy voices chirping endlessly for 7 hours a day could possibly hate running alone. I've tried it, I really have. Sean talks about the peace of the trails and the calm productive nature of his thoughts during his runs. I think he must be high. Here is what happens in my head "why are you breathing like that?" "Are we even moving?" "How much longer do I have to do this?" "How far have I gone?" "What do you mean I've only run 1 mile?" You can imagine how it might go down hill from there. Am I proud of my record setting self-loathing? No I'm not, but at 41 it's a little late to be changing the tape loop in my head. It started back in the days of the 8 track and parachute pants and hasn't really ever changed. It is what it is. What I love, what I crave is the run with my girlfriends.
It amazes me the intimacy of the miles I run with friends. Something about being out there together makes it ok to open up and just share. As the worries about work, life, love, pets and family spill out onto the trail, we gain strength, energy and renewal and somehow come back better than we left. I have ran through the shared loss of parents, pets and friends. I have made new friends, exorcised my demons and shared my hopes and dreams. I've learned to believe in myself more than I ever thought I could, by simply spending an hour or so on a wooded trail with some amazing people. The miles pass quickly and that tape is put on pause for the time we are out there.
So now I am faced with the need to start putting in some miles solo. It terrifies me, alone in my own head for two plus hours. Yikes! Maybe this needs to be the topic of discussion when I meet my girl friends for our weekend run. I have the feeling I'm going to need their help on how to solve this one.