During my training for last year’s New York City Marathon, I ran with EN about three or four times a month. It was the right dosage: just enough time to catch each other up on our lives, make each other laugh, and share bromides: “TK, you’re in the best shape of your life” and EN, have fun but just don’t break her heart. Later, while I was training for London, he would come to the Nike Pacers speed workouts each week, and join me on the occasional Sunday for parts of my long runs, distracting me with his amicable chatter for the first 10 miles. So being injured meant not just less running, it meant less EN, which was a shame .
More recently, EN was in my relay van, which was the most we’d hung out in a weekend since we were in Florida together for the Disney World Marathon in January of 2008. Then, my job got crazy, he went to Czechoslovakia for a wedding, and before I knew it we were completely out of touch, and he owed me $257. Work’s been bad lately; big overlapping campaigns, a new season launching, and days gobbled up by long meetings that generated hours of follow-up. I knew getting in Thursday evening’s run was going to be a challenge – it was my last day in the office before an overnight business trip to DC which would lead directly into my week-long summer staycation (timed to the visit of my brother and his family)—so I enlisted EN to show up at the office and run 3.5 miles with me, whenever he could make it after work.
He showed up around 7 PM, and we were walking up towards Central Park soon afterwards, then running up past the zoo and along the east side of the 6-mile loop. It was the most humid day of the summer so far, so both of us struggled to breathe and move quicker than a 10-minute pace. Funny how the sweatier we got, the faster we could run—or maybe, it was just that once we passed Cat Hill, every other step after that was (comparatively) downhill. Once we ended up back outside my office, our 3.5 miles completed, I’d heard the long version of his European trip (the short version: vodka), and gotten him up to speed on the pressure at work and the prize I won from Women’s Running magazine. The thing is this: mostly, I want to run alone; but sometimes, there’s nothing like a companionable workout. I sat back down to work around 8 PM re-energized, centered and settled down. (I worked for another three hours before packing it in! Once I got home: EN’s check for $257 had arrived in the mail.)