Sunday Gratitude: Lifer

This morning in Newburyport, this Owl completed her second half marathon. Ever. The last one was almost exactly a decade ago, in August 2011, in Rio de Janeiro. I do know how to pick them…running in the shadows of Sugarloaf and along Copacabana, and today in the gorgeous fall colors of the north shore.

I’m not a huge fan of long races, as you can tell, with only two in five decades. I did train for a Chicago Marathon in 1996 but got blown out by a major leg injury before race date. I ran 8 miles as part of a relay team in Maine in 2011. But I am more of a 5K runner–I’m not fast but I do love to run. Preferably with friends, but alone works too.

So what is my point today? I am grateful that four decades after I started running, it’s still a love…and I can still get out there. Papi Owl was the one to inspire the first runs–he used to do 5Ks all the time, mostly corporate runs. I joined cross country in high school–and Coach Mosley became my mentor. Every single run, I can still hear him yell “Work those Hills!” and I still do.

Today I ran with one of the women who was in my running pod during the pandemic’s worst days. We talked for the first six miles, quieted for the next five, then inspired each other to keep going for the hardest mile (12). We tied at 1:55, which beats my time of 1:59 in 2011. Along the way, we were part of the running mafia–that group of runners who cheer each other on as the hills get hilly–we don’t know each other but we each know that the competition is against ourselves, not anyone else. We were paced by two pace runners who were running a 2:00 race while carrying a yellow sign..and in mile 10 yelled up to us “Keep Ahead of Us” to push us on. We thanked them at the end.

And the residents of Newburyport were fantastic and welcoming, and we were pushed on by cheering homeowners, trombone music, by high-fiving skeleton hands (a new take on Halloween) and my favorite, a 7ish year old girl with a cardboard sign that said “tap here to power up.” So we did. And that got us through Mile 11.

In Brazil, I trained with a club called “Life Training” and we called ourselves “Lifers.” I am grateful today that so far, the knees and the hamstring and all are holding up. Running lifer. See you at the half marathon in 2031…I think I’ll just rest a bit until then.

Lifers. 2011 Meia Maratona. Rio de Janeiro


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