Thursday, November 4, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

When the alarm went off at 5:20 yesterday, something wasn’t quite right. I squinted at the clock in disbelief, “How had the night disappeared so quickly?” But that wasn’t it. As I came to consciousness, and the dog’s tail thwapped against the side of the bed, it hit me: there was no urgency.

I know what you’re thinking: Is there ever an urgency to get out of bed at 5:20 in the morning? Particularly nowadays when you find yourself in that perfect homeostatic balance, the one where it’s cold outside of the covers, but toasty under. Sigh. Anyway.

Since mid-July, every Tuesday morning, I’ve shot out of bed at 5:20, stealthily pulling on running clothes in the dark (already laid out from the night before) so as not to wake my wife, then jetting out the door into the still morning to meet up on the corner with my running partner.

A pair of 17:35s at the Goblin Gallop
For that extra motivation to get out the door and run, Runner’s World always mentions picking up with a running partner or group. This way, you’re obligated to get to your meeting place lest you face the scorn of standing up your partner.

Yesterday morning, however, that urgency was gone because my running partner has…moved to Maryland! For those not from the D.C. metro area, the Maryland state line is probably 15 miles from where I live, which in D.C. traffic conversion, means anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour drive depending on the time of day. But he and his wife have moved about an hour away to Annapolis, MD.

He broke it to me on a six mile jaunt, a gentle rolling three mile and out back. I remember because it was a strange morning where the weather couldn’t decide if it was still summer or transitioning officially to fall. So there we were, chuffing up one of those gentle rolls, cutting through the plumes of breath, and cursing that we hadn’t worn long sleeves, when he said, “So, my wife got a job offer.”

“That’s. Cool. Where?”
“That’s. Not. So. Cool.”

And so it went. We plotted out the remaining weeks of our runs together. It culminated in last Sunday’s Goblin Gallop 5K. We decided to combine forces and run together to push one another. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we are two runners of the same mold. Upon our first meeting, we realized we’d run several of the same races and finished within seconds of one another.

We fed off each other’s pace during workouts and brought new techniques and exercises to the table…really pushed the limits of our training, plus, just had someone to bounce off life’s biggest issues with. Like just what the hell was Sammi doing going back to Ronnie in the last season of Jersey Shore?

We finished the only way we could on Sunday: with same time. Of course this isn’t good bye. Maryland isn’t that far after all. In fact, we have a run set up for next Thursday on Veteran’s Day since we both have the day off. And there are future races. We’ve already talked about toeing the line at the NYC marathon next November, which will mean meet ups for long runs.

So, I lumbered down the stairs yesterday instead. I headed out into the crisp morning, stars still shimmering on the mirrored water hazard at hole eight. This time I took Mattie with me, who dutifully trotted along by my side. If it weren’t for the herds of deer clumped on the course, I’d have let her off the leash. She proved a good companion. But when I asked her about what she thought of the Jersey Shore finale, she sprinted off and rolled in a pile of goose poop, which, ultimately, was probably the most appropriate response.

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