You are the longest-running, most consistent training partner I've ever had. From the coldest winter day to the muggiest summer morning, you're ever-present.
Today when I went out, you joined me during the second half of my first mile. You were probably there before then, but I first noticed you when you started weighing heavy on my upper lip. Very shortly after, I felt you sliding down my left temple.
By the end of mile one, you had completely covered my bald pate. Despite the humidity, we were feeling good. Actually, because of the humidity, you were around more than usual today, with so much moisture in the air, it's hard for you leave. But I knew at the outset this was going to happen, I was going to get overheated; so today I was smart and compensated by choosing a flat course and keeping my pace down.
By mile two you had started taking over my shirt. I became acutely aware that this was going to be one of those runs.
By mile four you were slipping into my shoes. Over the nine years I've been running, you've ruined more than one pair of my running shoes. I pride myself on a lack of foot odor and at the risk of over sharing, the shoes I train through each and every summer need to be thrown out long before I've run the soles into the ground. I know this at the start of the season, yet it always surprises me.
By mile five you were in my sight. Literally. You were so ever-present that you had taken over my eyelashes and were in the process of doing to the same to the inside of the lenses of my sunglasses.
When I got back to my apartment, you were everywhere and you wouldn't let up. My arms and legs were covered. You had gone from taking over my shirt to taking over my shorts, my socks, and my shoes. You were all over the floor, on the chair and almost covered the mat after I finished stretching.
So why do I put up with you? On the surface, you're not a good running partner. You cause me to freeze after runs in the winter and how many times can I replace headphones that you've shorted out? You make me spend untold amounts on new technical running clothes only to destroy them, leave stains everywhere and not to be cruel but you smell bad.
So what do you really bring to the table?
I'll tell you.
You make me feel like a warrior. Your presence inspires me to push myself harder. I used to think you were a nuisance, but I was wrong. When you slip down my face and into the corners of my mouth, you taste like victory. You give me the strength and determination to push myself to limits I didn't know I had. When you soak my clothes, I know I'm getting stronger. When you drip off my fingertips you push me to run faster. When you sting my eyes, I feel like you're telling me I'm doing the right thing. When there's so much of you streaming down the inside of my shirt that my heart rate monitor chafes, the endorphin high I know I'll feel at the end is better than any drug.
So thank you. Thank you for being ever-present, for inspiring me and for helping me realize my dreams