I owe a race recap but will prolong the suspense for a few more days.  Usually, during a race, I am formulating what I will write here.  My brain becomes a massive board and I am rearranging sentences, experiences, and stories.  In doing that I decided this story had to be shared before the race recap (although they really belong together).

A few days before the race, my friend M{squared} said she was going to run the half marathon to pace me, her only goal to help me cross the finish line.  I knew she was going to run with me but I had already given her the green light to take off because she is a speed demon.  Being a runner girl who is uber-focused on time, it is almost unfathomable to believe someone would willingly give up a great race pace for moi.

Both of us had similar experiences at the Nike Women’s Marathon (she ran the full, I did the half).  Each of us had an amazing longest run a few weeks before our race.  Both of us were in a total zen state at the starting line.  Rock steady.  And then Nike happened.  (Her story is much more movie of the week inspirational & I haven’t but want to ask her if she wants to guest post her story here … thoughts in my head.)

I was already moved she was running to give me a great race.  But, come race day, my race would have been over long before the finish line if she hadn’t been by my side.

I can only imagine the thoughts going through her head because I tend to get quiet when I’m upset.  And the whole time, she was a ray of sunshine on a gloomy, rainy Seattle morning.  All I could think is she is seeing me at my weakest, at my most vulnerable moments, and at my worst.  (Scary to let someone see that!!)  This is where Nike was different; I was alone at Nike with all my demon thoughts.  At the same time, she was also witnessing me at my strongest, my most courageous and at my best.  Its funny how those two dichotomies go hand in hand when you run.

There I am trudging along in near abysmal conditions (rain, wind, pain) and she was totally present every step.  Not once did she falter.  At times, holding my hand, dragging me along like a little kid.  But always, always, with the biggest smile on her face and the most encouraging words.

I like to think I am a generally happy person.  But I have begun to think I may be a bit of a selfishly happy person.  M{squared} brought JOY to everyone she came into contact with during that race.  She thanked volunteers, police lining the course, and she motivated every single person around us to push that much harder even if she was only talking to me.  I don’t think I have ever met someone with such a selfless heart.

The Amica Seattle half marathon would have been a drastically different race had she not been there.  I cannot return the favor to her next month (because she is fast!) but I will pay it forward one day (hopefully soon) for someone else who needs a ray of sunshine on a challenging day.