With friends like this, who needs a personal trainer?

This is my friend Kate. This is Kate after running six miles. No, not before. I said AFTER. I didn’t make her pee in a cup, but I’m pretty sure she did this drug-free. Not even coffee. That’s downright superhuman, if you ask me. She may very well be the only mom I know that has more energy than her preschool-aged children. I have no doubt that when her kids head off to elementary school in a few years, she will have a career as a personal trainer waiting for her. In fact, I believe NBC is already in talks about having her replace Jillian on The Biggest Loser.
Pictured below, Kate & Ryan, Meredith and yours truly. Meet Portland’s newest marathon relay team.

You may be wondering what on earth I am doing in this picture. Yes, this is the same girl who got lapped (twice) when running the 2-miler in high school, only about 20 years older. Less than 9 months ago, I could barely finish a two mile jog in 20 minutes.
But there is something about being surrounded by people who push themselves to go farther and faster that makes me willing to do the same. So yesterday, I ran the 5.2 mile leg of the marathon relay. It was the shortest and final leg of the relay, and I began my run alongside people who were already on mile 21 of their “regular” marathon. I never imagined how exhilarating it could be to pass people like they are standing still. I am usually the one being passed, so it is a thrill I have never experienced firsthand, until yesterday. And yes, I do feel a bit guilty for being invigorated at the expense of the exhausted marathon martyrs.
But not so guilty that I didn’t imagine myself to be part of some kind of triumphant sports movie scene. And it only added to my delusional thoughts of grandeur that the Shuffle I borrowed from Ryan was perfectly choreographing my run, interspersing Eye of the Tiger as I hit the bridge toward Back Bay, and Going the Distance as I hit the last mile.
Anyway, we finished the race in 3 hours, 53 minutes. Not too shabby for first-timers, although I don’t think the Boston Marathon organizers will be imploring us to register anytime soon. The thing that has me so pumped is that this was a personal best for me--not just in terms of time and distance--but in the sense that I enjoyed the run itself more than any run I’ve ever done. I think I have crossed over into the crazytown of people who say they “love to run”. And when I finally arrived in this exercise-induced crazytown, Kate came bounding up and said, “What took you so long??”

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