As I ran in the cold, crisp air this morning, I ran a route I ran this weekend with a girlfriend and realized I have never said thank you to her.
I have never said thank you to so many people who deserve those two little words. I've been so focused on trying to find my way through running, that I forgot to stop and see that even when I am running alone in the mornings, there are so many people I feel alongside me.
I have a network of friends, sure. And my family counts for more support than I could ever properly document.
But my runners hold the fabric of my days together.
As my first marathon is just two short weeks away, I decided to take the time today to thank the people who have run besides me, cheered for me, told me I've done a good job even when the miles were ugly, checked in on my training, or even just sent me notes asking just how many cups of coffee, exactly, I have had that morning.
First? I have to start by thanking you. You, reading this blog right now, have fueled me. You've kept me honest on the days I just don't feel like writing or running. You've left me comments, and asked me questions, offered your suggestions and played along with my silly nicknames for myself. So thank you, reader. You rock.
Thank you Joe, for taking those first scary strides with me when we both started running. Thank you for running that first race with me. Thank you for telling me I did awesome even though your time blew mine away.
Thank you Salsman, for pushing me, and letting me kick someone in the pants while kicking myself there, too. Thank you for always keeping pace, even when we are running different races.
Thank you Adam12, for somehow quietly understanding I'm far more sentimental about things than I let on, and for letting me help you run your first 5K. That day is ranked among my top days... ever.
Thank you Laura. The girl I was terrified to meet up with after my first 10 mile race. You are the kind of runner I want to be. You make it look so easy even though I know you fight just as hard as I do -- and even harder still when an injury is involved. You ran with me just after the marathon, on a day I wasn't sure I could hold it together. Your strides with me helped more than you know.
Thank you, David. My personal ray of sunshine. You have listened to me blather on about all sorts of things -- some of which you've come to learn are really important, and others I've learned from listening to you aren't as important as I thought. You have helped me see just how strong I am, and can be. And will be. I cannot wait for our next adventure together.
Thank you Sherry and Mike for always keeping me accountable and always being my cheerleaders. I never knew the power of a plank until I met you both, and I'm not talking about my strong abs: I'm talking about the power of real honest-to-goodness friendship. The kind that is sweaty and messy and full of laughs.
Thank you Sue for sending me inspiration via a handwritten note and photograph and by sending me something that meant something to you. You are one of the strongest people I know. We are cut from the same cloth, for sure, and I can't wait for a high five from you after a long, hard run.
Thank you Dan, for always listening, and always making me find you in a crowd and for always being tall enough that I can always find you no matter how crowded the race is. Thank you for being one of the first people to follow me -- no matter the medium.
And finally, thank you, Steve. For the coffee-fueled check-ins. For the willingness to read all my ramblings before anyone else. For asking how my run went. For always saying good morning and to have a good run when the other insomniacs have all gone to bed.
I have so many other people I can and should say thank you to. But the best way I know how to do that is by laying down 26.2 miles and thinking about each one of you with every single strike of my foot. Because yes, I've logged the miles, but you've helped me get to where I'm going.