Yesterday, my running friend Anna accomplished something amazing: she ran 1 mile for every year of her life as a way to celebrate turning 30.
Being the fabulous person that she is, there were plenty of ladies who wanted to celebrate and support Anna on this journey, and I was honored to be a part of Anna's running 30 miles through New York City.
Anna's support team included 5 or 6 wonderful women who ran different legs of her 30 miles in a relay of love & support. Those of us who weren't running with her followed Anna in a car, weaving in and out of traffic, avoiding parades and closed streets, so that we could be both an oasis for rest and refreshment for the runners (water, gatorade, gu, and potato chips were well stocked in the back of the car) as well as a mobile cheering squad. I'm sure that there were plenty of New Yorkers who were wondering what the heck was going on when a car full of crazy ladies would slow down, honking and screaming at a few be-pinked women running near them.
I got to run miles 9.5 through 16 with Anna (and her constant coach Stephanie, who ran all 30 miles with Anna) through Riverside Park on the West Side of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River. This gave me a unique perspective of a part of the city that I have only ever viewed at 64 mph while I zoom down one of the Parkways on my way from Pennsylvania through to Massachusetts. Anna was running strong, but starting to feel all the miles, and I got to be my exuberant self, hopefully distracting her from thoughts of "What the heck was I thinking!!??"
When Team Anna met the birthday girl at mile 25, she was looking extremely tired and a wee bit grumpy...By the time I joined her again at mile 26.5 to finish the run with her, all Anna wanted to do was walk and get this over with. Her feet were KILLING her. So, I offered Anna my shoes. I run in ginormous Asics, and when Anna put them on, her feet just spread out. I put on Anna's smaller shoes and now my feet started to hurt (but I was willing to take one for Team Anna). A mile later of running in each other's shoes got us that much closer to our goal (beer at the finish line) and gave me a new appreciation of why I love my Asics and why Anna's feet must've hurt her...
We switched back for the last mile and Anna happily hobbled her way to the end. We wound up at the strangest bar ever (if a 9 year old could design a bar, it would've been this one that boasted a shelf of board games like Sorry and Operation and a menu with PB & J sandwiches) where we had a celebratory glass of Yuengling (yum!) and then went home for Indian take-out (yummer!).
And may I say, I am superdeeduper proud of my friend Anna! She totally rocked those 30 miles!