Before running, I didn’t leave the house a whole lot. I certainly didn’t drive to new places on purpose… by myself. I’d never go to an event of some kind where I didn’t know any other person there. No way. That still sounds a bit scary to me.
Running has a way of changing people and running and racing pushes me outside of my comfort zone (in a good way). Because of running I have also made some great friends that I wouldn’t have made otherwise!
This post is dedicated to one such friend (and Run Oregon blogger) and our journey together as we prepare to part ways… (at least for now?)
If you run a lot of events in Oregon and Washington, chances are you have met Maryalicia. If you haven’t met her in person, you’ve seen some of her posts on this blog. After running Oregon and southern Washington, she is off to more adventures as she and her family prepare to move in a few days. I am not good at saying “good-bye” so let me just tell you a little about our “hello”.
I first “met” Maryalicia reading some of her blog entries on Run Oregon and got to know her in that way you get to know people through their writing with their humor, wit and perseverance on their journey. I needed some advice for my first big costume run, a half marathon, and found this blog entry of hers to be so helpful for someone who had little experience with costumes and hoping to tackle 13.1 in a bulky costume.
After reading about makeup and costumes and “getting to know her” on Run Oregon, I recognized her at that race and said “hello”. That was about all I could muster in my huffing and puffing on my second half marathon while she bebopped along and said “hello” to everyone she passed. I started to see her at other events I volunteered, ran or cheered at. 5 months after that race that I met her in person, I asked her if she would join my Hood To Coast team, and she agreed to join me on that crazy adventure as my co-captain.
Her sense of humor, enthusiastic energy, generosity and loyalty are just a few of her gifts in a friendship and I am going to miss her, but I will focus on celebrating that I met her in the first place. I could still be wrapped in my comfort, having never left the house and never ventured out on that half marathon and choosing to say “hello” to the cheerful candy corn witch who whizzed on by me.
In May, Maryalicia literally pulled me across the finish line for a PR (shaving 8 minutes off my best half time and a race time I have yet to come close to again). She slowed her pace to something I could do and was my personal pacer the whole time! That is dedication. She didn’t race her own pace but helped me with mine.
On her last race as a resident of the Pacific Northwest, we met up for a pre race photo and queued up for our race. I was nervous to do the Silver Falls Half with tired legs and a poor attitude, and once again she stayed with me. I was quiet and trying not to let my negativity pour out to the people around me. She picked up on my quiet disposition and sang upbeat songs between advice on my poor running form and tackling hills.
“Am I annoying you yet?” she asked.
As I thought about each foot fall and not hurting myself, I answered “You’re making lemonade.” If life gives you lemons, Maryalicia can make it lemonade. Before long, that scary race was an amazing adventure and so much fun to share with a friend.
So while you take on some new adventures and make lots of new friends, Maryalicia, I promise to work on pushing my shoulders back, dropping my arms and pick up my knees. Thank you for being this quiet, introverted girl’s sole sister.
(Here is one more fun post of Maryalicia’s on how to get a good race photo. )