First in a series of posts about the impact that running has had on my life.
In January 2003, I (re)discovered my passion for running. Fifteen months later, I craved more information, more connections with other people who shared my passion. Turning to the Internet, I stumbled across a small number of running blogs. Quickly, the few grew into many and I joined the fray. In doing so, I formed cyber-friendships with runners from all over the country. Comments often led to email exchanges and friendships blossomed. The friendships varied from casual to practically-siblings.
One particular friendship even rewarded me with a coach. jeff, aka the amazing hip, coached me through my Boston qualifying marathon, and then not only coached me to my PR-setting Boston debut, but he also ran each step of the epic-weather marathon with me.
He’s been more than a coach, and more than an acquaintance. We joke about being BFFs (best friends forever) but honestly, that’s about as accurate a description as I can create. He’s like the brother I always wanted but never had – perfectly filling that role by being the first person to give me a nickname that stuck (Flipperhead. Or just Flipper.) We’ve cheered each other on through countless races “virtually” from across the country as well as in person. We’ve celebrated each other’s successes and consoled each other during darker moments. We have visited each other’s house, and met each other’s tolerant, understanding, wonderful spouses. We even have annoying ‘inside’ jokes.
While I could spend hours listing off all the many incredible qualities that make up my BFF (not to be confused with BTT – http://www.breakingthetape.com/) the one thing that stands out time and time again is his incredibly generous spirit. It’s impossible to count the number of times he has gone out of his way to help me, as well as others. Rarely have I heard him say “No, I can’t do that.” Usually, he’s one step ahead, anticipating where he might be able to offer some assistance, and then doing the right thing.
Over the past two years, he has listening to my endless stream of whining and complaining about school, marathon training, school, my expanding backside, school and my ever increasing stress level. He’s listened patiently. He’s offered advice, support and most importantly, he’s made me find a reason to smile. As if he hadn’t done enough for me in the past, a few weeks ago he completely out did himself by sending me this:
a Garmin-licious gift to congratulate me for surviving three semesters of intense coursework.
Seriously. He sent that to me. I know. My jaw dropped too. They don’t call him the amazing hip for nothing.
Because of running, I have a friend like jeff in my life.