I've reached the end of an era. I've officially been put on the market.
I didn't see it coming. One minute, we were going the distance. When I lost all willpower, I had someone to push me harder. When I hurt, I had someone to offer support. An ice pack, even. We laughed, we shared stories. We could go on for miles... er, hours. Or both. I had found my equal. But the next minute, I've been left in the dust.
Yes, that's right. I'm losing my Running Buddy. My Workout Pal. My Marathon Partner-In-Crime. She's moving on to bigger and better things (i.e. a fiance, who's one Great Lake away). And I've been left to run alone. Solo. Party of one.
OK, I'll admit, I'm exaggerating a bit. Her and I still have a few good weeks left together, but I must prepare for the inevitable: long runs on the trail, alone. Waking up to hit the gym, by myself. Training for a half-marathon, with no one to cross the finish line with. This is a tragedy.
What is a girl to do when she's lost the one person who knew her limit? Does she feign a smile, and hit the road running alone? Literally? Does she dive headfirst into the endless pool of exercisers, only to struggle finding someone who shares her pace?
She and I met in the spring. I was itching for something new to tempt my limits. An experience. I needed a challenge. We decided on a marathon. It was perfect. We shared a pace, we shared an ability. We shared a motivation. And when she went on vacation to Europe for two weeks - guess what? I didn't run a drop. Couldn't do it. Lost all willpower. Woke up in the morning with nothing but good intentions, realized I had to spend 4, 5, 6, or 12 miles on the road alone... and nope. Wasn't gonna do it. No way. Me? Lace up my running shoes, force myself into exhaustion with no one to share it with? No one to make me keep going? No one depending on me to run with Her?
Do you see what I'm facing? I can't do this alone. I can't go to spin class every night after work without Her spinning away on the bike next to mine. I can't wake up at 4:30 a.m. to run stairs and jump rope for 45 minutes in a cardio class - by my lonesome. No. And I certainly can't train for a half-marathon without Her.
That's it. I need to find someone new. I'm sorry. I'm just not one to be able to go it alone. There must be someone out there - a long distance runner. Someone who craves muscle burn. A person who can push through 26.2 miles at exactly 11 minutes per mile.
It'll be tough to run the same trails, lift at the same gym, shop at the same running store. I'll think of her the next time I enter a race. But she won't be forgotten. She'll always have a place in my sole.
Get it? Sole? Feet?