Have you ever had a run that is as perfect a run as a perfect run can be? A run that leaves you breathless and wanting more? A run where the conversation is smart and rich. A run where the laughter flows freely and cracks like a whip? A run that is so intoxicating we become drunk with life and high with the oneness of the moment.
I happened upon Melissa, Christine, Tim, Scott, and Gary this morning as I trudged solo down Wellington Crescent. I'm currently training for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 5 and my schedule calls for 16 miles. This isn't a huge distance, but it's just long enough to register 'boring' on the fun-scale if running alone.
Like a sailor on a 24 hour furlow I was looking for a little fun and a little company to ease the tedium.
"Come join us" they yelled.
It was all the invitation this sailor needed. I jumped into cue and the banter began... non-stop, relentlessly positive, full frontal, take no prisoners, laugh-a-minute, rich, unadulterated perfect chatter.
This group holds a healthy irreverence to the traditional running rules. They are renegades in their own right and I love them for their independent spirit. Allow me to stitch together some moments to explain.
We ran to McDonalds on Marion for a Coke and muffin ... what the heck?.. a Coke and muffin at McDonalds! This sailor held back and stuck to water and an extra-crappy GU ... after all, the day is still young and I'm wary of where this could go. The muffin was devoured, the Coke chugged and the empty cup banged on the counter. With a sleeve-wipe to the mouth we were once again off and running.
Scott, aka The Cisco Truck, carries all sorts of treats in his extra buff fanny pack. He's a virtual mobile Pollock's Hardware, a Willy Wonka treat machine, a Hunter S. Thompson pharmacist, and an all around cool guy. He's the MacGyver of running. Legend has it he pulled a a flat of ice-cold Cokes out of his fanny pack on one particularly hot ultra-marathon.
Scott tells how 7-11 head office in Vancouver contacted him about his 7-11 race series and offered all sorts of incentive to grow this race. Next year, says Scott, will be better and bigger than ever. Mark your calendars 7-11-15 at 7-11 AM. Stay tuned for details.
Christine becomes emotional with the talking garbage can at McDonalds. She has four daughters and takes comfort in the programmed robotic "thank-you" from the garbage can. She says it's the only thank-you she ever gets as she purposefully places another piece of garbage in the can., and another, and another, tears welling.
As a car approaches from the rear Melissa yells "SCATTER" and like sand-crabs we all scurry to different sections of the raodway. The driver passes shaking his head.
We cross Main Street in the general vicinity of a crosswalk ... kinda-sorta.
Melissa leaves half a Coke hidden in the bushes in the Gates to be savoured on the return trip. As we approach an hour later only a sip remains. Did someone help them self to Melissa's Coke? Only Gary Morris knows for sure.
"Go fast on Wellington" yells Melissa as she scoots ahead at a 7:30 MM pace. We go fast. Tim and I stall out at an 8:30 pace. We catch our breath at the water fountain and then continue forward; forever forward, no looking back.
On Centennial at Kingsway we say "20% done", at Grosvenor "40% done", at Corydon "60% done" and then, at John Brebeuf, 80% done".
I finish strong, smiling, happy.
It was... it is... and will forever be... a good day to be alive.