For my first few years of running, I was a solo runner. At the time I started, none of my friends really ran – at least none of the ones who lived near me. That all changed when I signed up to run the Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber. On our first training run in December 2016, I was recovering from my first hamstring injury, just 2 months after my first half marathon. I was in PT at the time and promised Peter I would only run 4 miles and would take them slow. I kept to my promise about going slow, but ran 6 because I felt pretty great. Seeing almost everyone else running in groups while I ran totally alone was kind of a bummer. I ran with a teammate a few weeks later when I was back in western Mass for the holidays. I was slow and recovering from E.coli poisoning, but he stayed with me the whole time. We chatted (well, he chatted and I listened) and before I knew it, we had run over 8 miles. I started going to the Thursday night DFMC runs in January, which started and ended at a bar. I met a girl named Jessica and ran with her a few other teammates, and the rest is history. I ran almost every Thursday with Jess, and almost every Saturday with Jess and Lori. We’d eventually run the marathon together, and Jess and I have now run SO many races and training runs together.
Meghan was always faster than us, but we’d often pass each other on runs. Her dog passed away not too long before Rags did, and (aside from my parents) she was the single most supportive person during his final weeks and then in the days and weeks after his death. I believe our shared trauma drew us together, even if our paces kept us apart during actual runs. After the marathon, I got faster and was able to keep up with her.
Since meeting them – and so many other people who have become dear friends – early in the marathon training season, I’ve come to think of Jess and Meghan as two of my closest friends. We text all the time and see each other at races and events and fundraisers and volunteer shifts. That’s why I’m so glad both of them, and my marathon buddy Lori, have all verbally committed to running the 2019 Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber again!
But in the meantime…
Meghan is running the Boilermaker 15K! I had SO much fun at this race last year despite running completely alone and not knowing a soul out there on the course. She has other friends going up for the weekend, but knows she has a place to sleep and someone to drive her on race day (thanks Dad!) if she needs it. She’s been much faster and more consistent than me – being injury-free is nice like that – but I’m hopeful in 6 weeks I’ll be feeling a lot better and we can run the race together without me holding her back.
Then yesterday, she and Jess found out they both got into the Falmouth Road Race again. This will be my first year running thanks to a guaranteed entry I secured by running the race on a treadmill last year, and I’m so glad I’ll have two veterans to run with. If you asked me even two years ago if I’d be obsessed with running with other people, I would laugh at you.
I still enjoy my mid-week runs through Brighton/Brookline on my own. I experiment a little more on those – speedwork, hills, run/walk intervals, crying if I must, stopping to take photos of sunrises and sunsets, random stops into Marathon Sports, etc. – but I always look forward to races or training runs with my ride-or-dies.