How Far We’ve Come
It’s the 4th of July holiday here in the US, and The Firm (which I’ve decided is a fun thing to call the company Handsome J and I work for, though thankfully they’ve never tried to kill us) is giving us two full days off in honor of American Independence. Naturally, we’re celebrating by leaving the country.
That’s right, it’s time for another trip to the Great White North! We’re headed up for 5 days of relaxing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the Handsome Family homestead.
This will be my third trip to Manitoba and my second to the Folk Fest, and in a way it feels like as much a homecoming for me as it is for J. My first trip up that way was back in the summer of 2009. For those of you who don’t follow my running career as obsessively as I do, that was the year I decided to make my great return to the marathon, and I was just beginning my training for San Antonio 2009. (Which would prove to be a slightly-less-than-triumphant return, other than the fact that I made it from the start to the finish without ralphing.)
Oh, how I remember making laps of the small town where Handsome J spent his formative years. How I remember marvelling that someone raised on the 19th story of a high-rise in downtown Chicago (me) could end up with someone raised in a town less than 4 miles in total diameter (makes for an interesting long run). How I remember the locals staring at the girl running around in a sweatshirt with”Texas” written on it in giant letters. (Is it that I don’t look familiar, or is my shirt just that obnoxious?) How I remember the pride I felt at actually training again after nearly 2 years of chronic injuries.
Looking back, it feels like ages ago. And of course this got me to reflecting on all the life events that have occurred in the time between two Folk Festivals.
Do you remember how the Conan O’Brien show used to do that “In the year 2000” schtick? (If you don’t, you’re too young.) Anyway, I thought it would be fun to do that in reverse.
In the year TWO thousaaaaand (nine):
- I had no idea what Rogue was, and was moreover convinced that I would never join a running group. After all, I hated running with other people. Much better to just be me and my iPod. For miles and miles and…what the heck was I thinking??
- None of my current PRs existed. Not one. My best time for a 5K was north of 30 minutes. My marathon PR was still from the one and only marathon I had ever run, back in 2004. I’d never run a half marathon.
- I was using a Galloway run-walk-run plan that involved 3 runs a week total. TOTAL. Insanity. No wonder I almost died.
- I had never heard of Germany. Okay, that’s a total lie. But I certainly never thought I would LIVE there.
- My dad was no more than a casual runner, and still favored his felt shorts from the 70s. It was only after his decision to surprise me by entering that San Antonio race that the illustrious MacLeod family racing team formed. Our current tally of races run together: 2 full marathons, 1.5 half marathons (in SA he ran the half while I continued the death march on my own), and 2 10-milers. We’ll be taking on our 3rd joint full in Chicago this October. I fully expect him to kick my butt.
- Last but not least, I had never met my indispensable running partners, Emily, Jeanine, and Jenn.
- Emily and I now regularly do 4-5 of our 6 weekly runs together. It feels weird to go more than a day without seeing each other, and we have a mutual agreement to drag each other through every miserable workout Coach Chris can set before us.
- Jeanine keeps ditching us for Ironman triathlons and other ridiculous escapades, but we lure her out on Thursday easy runs so she can regale us with stories of biking with the pros and what they say really goes on in the Olympic Village. (Apparently it’s ALL TRUE.)
- Sadly Jenn has been on the DL for a while now, but I’m confident she’ll return to us sooner or later. And luckily there’s always happy hour, book club, and potlucks. Because when you run with people every single morning, it only makes sense to schedule non-running events to fill your evenings. These girls have become as much a reason I run as any race goal, and there’s no such thing as a bad run if it’s followed by mimosas, migas, and great company!
Must run to pack. Happy holiday, everyone!