About fifteen years ago I lined up for the start of the Sugarloaf Marathon a few rows back from the front. I looked around, taking stock of the women's field and was happy to see that there weren't any women there that I knew to be faster than me. (You runners who race regularly know what I mean. After a while you can look around at the start and know, more or less, how you will place if everything goes as it normally does.)
A tall, lanky, dark haired woman was standing next to me. She confided that this would be her first marathon and her first race of any distance. I wished her luck and assured her she'd do fine, while wondering to myself why she was lined up near the front. The gun went off and we started running. By the time the runners thinned out and I looked around to see where things stood, that woman was way ahead of me. She gained on me thoughout the race and went on to win. It took a few more ass-kickings (my ass) over the years, but we eventually became friends.
This past week she, D has been in New England visiting from her current home in Virginia. Yesterday I drove over to New Hampshire to visit with D and Mary. This former marathoning champion is in her fifteies now and looks about 40. A fit an active lifestyle sure does pay off! She gave up running a few years back, but is trying to get back into shape, not to compete but to feel good about herself. Mary has had her out running the hilly dirt roads and trails around North Conway almost every day. Yesterday D opted for a hike instead as she was feeling pretty beat up from Mary's boot camp like approach to whipping her back into shape.
We had a great hike in the rain. Before the turn around point, we received a phone call from Mary's young son. The soccer game we had counted on being cancelled due to rain was on! He needed his uniform and shoes brought to him ASAP. We rushed back down, threw his gear together and went to watch a little kids' soccer game in the pouring rain. It was wet and miserable, but in some ways fun. After the game, D and I cooked a very nice dinner while Mary got her run in, (I had already put in my daily 5 on the trails first thing in the morning.) We had a great meal and a fun evening.
I think the three of us did a good job motivating each other to keep up healthy active lifestyles and continue with our running as long as we can. There was some talk about a Reach the Beach team next year. We have all done this event several times before, but never on the same team. We sure had a lot of fun last evening thinking up names for our team. I'm sure running the event together would be a crazy good time!