Training for a marathon with someone is little like going through boot camp together. You learn alot about each other in a way it takes years with most friends. You learn how tough they are and about their temperment. You learn their running habits…like how often they require the restroom, fuel on a long run, and pre-race rituals. You know everything there is to know about their husbands, kids, and parents. Long runs have brought out unhappy marriages and childhood stories that would otherwise have gone untold, just because there was time. And like therapy, “what is said on the road, stays on the road”. It’s a wonderful byproduct of training–distance makes the heart grow stronger.
When we race, we all love to have our family and friends come to see us run. But there is something special about having your “long distance” friends there. It shows support and solidarity for the effort. They know the pain. They have been where you have been and the support comes from an entirely different place. They know you may need “goo” or your own special beverage at mile 20. They know where your low points may be. If you are lucky, sometimes they accompany you to a race (like me:to the NY Marathon). They remind you to change your clock, borrow their sister’s GPS system so they can make sure we don’t get lost, and they keep reminding you that you are “ready and strong” and “it’s going to be a beautiful day”! And afterward no matter how good or how bad it was, they tell you…”you did great!” and they take you to Starbucks for a double tall soy latte….because they know that’s what makes you happy after a long run! (thank you Jamie and Jean ).