A while back (actually, in May) my friend Courtenay sent me a note. One of her friends had written to ask if she knew anything about running a half marathon because he wanted to do that. She laughed and passed it on to me; while she’s a triathlete, I have yet to convince Courtenay that running is something she can love. Anyway, she hooked me and her buddy up.
This was someone I’d never met who lived elsewhere…and who didn’t run. Who wanted to get up and run a half marathon in September, just four months away. I was blunt: it was possible, but the big unknown would be whether his body could handle going from nothing to 13.1 in such a short time. Normally, people in training groups start with a base of 2–3 mile runs, and he didn’t even have a 1-mile run in his repertoire.
I also told him that the other unknown was how much it would hurt. He decided to go for it.
Over the months, we emailed. I’d give him a schedule and then he’d report how the week went. It was an interesting experience for me. Being a guy, he didn’t give me tons of details. I worried about injury from doing too much too fast. We got him up to a long run of about 11 miles with a mixture of walking and running.
Today, Mike completed his first half marathon. He finished in 2:46, which is better than what he’d estimated. And the best thing of all? He sent me a note to tell me all about it, and actually wrote these sentences: “What do I do next? When should I run again? How do I maintain or improve my distance without a race scheduled?”
Those words are music to my ears, even better than “I finished!” Because they mean I’ve just helped another person embrace the world of running.