Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Disclaimer: Again, I'm a little behind on this post. It was originally supposed to go up on Saturday night and then on Sunday night. Creative juices and time management didn't start until Monday.

This is my friend, Lauren. She's pretty cool. Lauren loves history, her cats, the Philadelphia Phillies and running.


Lauren has been a huge guide on my running journey. She was the first person I ever met who had run more than, like, five miles. During the Fall of 2008, our friendship solidified over a mutal love of the Phillies, Lost and her lack of airplane making skills. Also, she ran a lot. I was still doing 4 and 5 miles in the local park after work with no training plan or knowledge. She was always there with advice and encouragement. Lauren's tales of 'races' and longs runs were a major factor in my New Years Resolution to conquer a Philadelphia Broad Street 10 Miler.

To be honest, I didn't even know that event existed until I met Lauren. I didn't know what a half marathon was or that running 1 mile burns one hundred calories.

She was running 10, 15, 20 miles on the weekends with Team in Training in preparation for the 2009 Disney Marathon.

A month before what was supposed to be the best weekend of her life, that she had trained and fundraised for, she woke up one morning with an unbearable pain in her hips. That pain was stress fracture in both hips. It was devastating. I remember getting an email from her and just feeling my stomach hit the floor. No marathon. No running. She could barely walk.

While Lauren was suffereing a major heartbreak, I was falling in love with running. I had begun my training for Broad Street and was constantly peppering her with "I RAN 6 MILES!" emails and questions like "Why do I not want junk food any more?" And even though she was in pain and upset, she answered and encouraged. It wasn't until she said I was ready to run it that I believed it I was. She rarely, rarely complained. You never knew how much agony, emotional and physical she was in. We still went to baseball games, watched Lost Season 5 and gossiped about coworkers.

With determination and patience, Lauren's hips eventually healed. And she was runnin' again.

Here she is at the 2009 Philadelphia Distance Run. This was my first half marathon and her second.

Lauren and I frequently have text message conversations consisting of nothing but a distance, time and lots of !!!!!!!!! or distance, time and some weather-related profanity. She is my favorite runny buddy. Her determination and tenacity about our sport is unmatched. Lauren has her running schedules prepared months in advance and will stick to them, come hell or high water. And, from the time we have started to run together, she has improved so much. Girl is speedy now. I remember telling her about speedwork and fartleks once. Fast forward three months and I could barely keep up with her and I silently cursed sharing that information. ;-)

We've run together a lot over the past year or so. Though neither of us will admit it, we compete against each other. She wins, everytime.  We've stood next to each other at the starting lines of three half marathons, two 5-milers, one 5K and one 10 miler. 



And on Sunday, November 21, 2010, Lauren Curran ran the Philadelphia Marathon. And she killed it. And I've never been more proud and inspired by a single person ever. I almost cried when she asked me to run miles 20 through 25 with her. I made sure, absolutely sure to be at the mile 20 point that day and kept an obsessive watch on the runner tracker to anticipate when she'd be approaching. When I finally saw that purple shirt and white hat making the way down Main Street of Manayunk, I got butterflies in my stomach.

As we ran--yes, she was still running at mile 20-- I chatted mindlessly about everything and anything I could. The only complaint from that girl was tight hamstrings. We took little walk breaks at each mile. She was incredible. I reminded her of the horrific hills she had to deal while training in Princeton all summer. The hills were gone, but her strength remained. I kept looking at her and saying, "Hey, Lauren. You're running your marathon."  I got a little choked up when the mile 25 marker came up and it was time for Lauren to conquer that final mile.

We all have obstacles and bumps in the road. I'm sure there were other runners with injuries and comeback stories on that course. But, I don't know them. I do know Lauren. And I know that Lauren has helped, encouraged,infuriated, motivated and amazed me for two years now.
So, thank you Lauren! And to show my gratitude and love, I leave you this delightfully embarrassing post. :-) You're awesome. I'm proud of you. And I hope you're going to help me get to marathon ready someday.

1 comment:

  1. you are like the best ever!!! come back to NJ so I can give you a hug!!!!!!!!!!!