NOTE: OLYMPICS MARATHON SPOILER ALERT BELOW!
Running can be a lonely sport.
Sure there are plenty of group runs that are filled with chatter and support that takes your mind off of the task at hand, and I look forward to every single one of those, but the fact of the matter is that most of my runs are done solo.
With my old job, it was virtually impossible to do group runs as most people laughed when I said, “Can you meet at 4:45 a.m.?” So instead my running buddy became the treadmill. The treadmill and I became close and I tried to keep myself entertained with Netflix, music and mind games, but these solo runs were always a continual test of how long I could stay motivated, focused and on track. In other words…how long I could talk to myself.
When I woke up early this morning to watch the women’s Olympic marathon online, I was in tears. Not because of the race itself, the finish times, or Russia’s awesome job at the finish, but because of Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher.
They trained together, had the same coach, are both the running community’s starlets, and as an outsider looking in, it seemed to be that they are good friends. But let’s not forget that they are competing against each other as well – an awkward position full of immense pressures, fears, excitement and doubt.
While each had their own personal goals and dreamed of Olympic gold for themselves, such dreams weren’t realized at this race. They both spoke to the media a bit about their disappointment and seemed visibly upset at the finish. However, when I saw this moment in action, I teared up:
Two fierce competitors embracing each other unlike any of the other countries’ teams. They were clearly disappointed and exhausted, but as good friends should be, they scooped each other up and were supportive in the good times and bad. At that moment, I forgot all about how they placed and they proved once again why they are my race favorites.
So if my wildest dreams came true and Shalane or Kara were reading this, I want to say congratulations on all that you have accomplished and a strong fight to the finish, but more importantly, take that friendship and run with it (no pun intended).
With my recent change in career and personal life, I’m looking forward to finding my Shalane Flanagan (I’ve got dibs on Kara). Let’s be running partners in crime that push ourselves to new levels, bring us down when we get inflated, and help pick up the pieces when it falls apart. Interested parties please let me know.