October 8, 2016: Running Through Life

Post-run cheers on a sunny day in July a year ago. The reason for celebration ultimately turned into a bust. But the celebration of a friendship and being at each other's side every step of the way is real.

Garrett refers to my running friends as my gal pals. We wake at the crack of dawn to run, cutting it up through the morning darkness. 5:30 is our meet time. And depending on the meeting point and travel time involved, our average alarm wake-up call is 5:15 a.m.

"So what did you and your gal pals talk about this morning?" is a typical Garrett question.

I then brief my curious husband on our specific subjects over the approximate 55 minutes of run time together. They generally include analysis of our life while rehashing events from our last run and humor in our daily musings.

We certainly don't take ourselves too seriously. But we equally take very seriously our role in being each other's accountability partners; the most influential personal board of directors.

Today we ran both lakes of Zorinsky. Not only had it been a while since we ran this route, it had been a while since we collectively ran this distance of 7.5 miles. Back in the day, not only did we run this route weekly, it was with a crew of runners at a pace that put our today's pace to shame.

But there were no complaints.

In fact, our reaction to this morning's endeavor bordered on jubilant. Not too shabby for three 50 (or almost 50) something women. I always say we are doing better than those laying in bed or sitting on the coach.

Small victories.

Our morning running reflections centered on assessment of relationships in today's society. We later reflected on our earned wrinkles and the span of time since we started running together.

For Kristi and me, our first run together was with a group. I was the newbie. Kristi and I immediately found commonality, striking up a conversation on potty training and bed wetting. Our youngest were toddlers, months apart in age.

These same kiddos are now almost 21 years old. Potty training is a distant memory.

Tam was an add-on a few years later. One day she ran out of her driveway on a solo run and literally ran into our group. We asked her to join and she hasn't stopped running with us since. Everything happens for a reason. No doubt there was a reason we were put into each other's lives.

Morning humor and our quirky comradery are high on the list. This text exchange is a recent example.

Rule #1 for the gal pals: never take yourself too seriously. Really. Only a good friend would offer you their dry, but small, sports bra.

After my ACL surgery a few years back, I really never came back 100%. Without my gal pals, it would be likely that I wouldn't be running today. I would have moved on to biking and the gym. Running definitely becomes more difficult with age. But the draw of our morning runs and my favorite friends gets me out of bed in the morning. No doubt I move slower and run less often, but I can't imagine working through life without them.

There is no better therapy. Talking through daily challenges, joyful milestones, and life purpose can only be fully accomplished with the support and feedback of my gal pals. And purity of mind really does happen before coffee and normal waking hours.

There have been many others whom we have shared life with over runs through the years. From our days of a dozen strong on any given day, we are now down to our little group. The original Early Morning Miler's moved on with pregnancies, back surgery, physical moves, quests for faster times, and illness. We still stay in touch and have occasional guest appearances, but most mornings it's our little group of 2 to 3.

No doubt, I will keep at the morning shuffle while we collectively solve all the world's problems. And if we can't figure it out, it is certain that we will laugh. At ourselves. At each other.

And the wrinkles will keep coming, no doubt. But the joy of 5:30 am runs? Who would ever notice?

Spreading of holiday cheer post a run on ice that wasn't our best day of judgment

Attempted selfie. Fail.


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