This evening, my bestest running buddy, Annie, will be on a flight to Singapore to start a new job there. As much as I want to be happy for her, I can’t help but feel otherwise. My running soulmate and partner-in-crime is leaving. And, I am completely devastated.
We met way back in the summer of 2007. Two young mothers who had a deep interest in running. We would run every other day, no fail, rain or shine. More often than not, we would run side by side, but there were times when she would run ahead of me (as she was much stronger) while I slowly improved trying my best to keep up with her. We had great fun talking and laughing during runs, but during tough climbs or tempo runs, we would be serious training partners, pushing each other to perform better. By the time summer ended and our Coach had deserted us, we had already forged a bond built around—what turned out to be—not just an interest, but an obsession for running.
October came and we decided to train for our first marathon together: Pasig Marathon 2008. We ran our Saturday long runs together, but they didn’t feel long at all; two hours would fly by so fast. We learned more about each other, how we were alike in so many ways: that our birthdays are only a day apart, that our husbands are so extraordinarily patient and supportive, that running is not just a hobby for us, but a huge part of our lives. We talked about our marathon dream and we could completely relate with each other. Unfortunately, I got injured while Annie went on to finish Pasig Marathon at 4:07 in February 2008.
In the summer of 2008, we signed up with another coach, Coach Jo-Ar, and started training in Ultra together. From the roads, we moved to the track and, together, we had even more fun climbing up those stairs, racing up the hills with kids half our age, or hanging out with the legendary Elma Muros. Still, we continued our regular Saturday long runs on the road as if it was a sacred tradition, a special day that we both looked forward to at the end of each hectic week.
By mid-year, we both decided to embark on our craziest running adventure yet: Singapore Marathon in December 2008, just the two of us pursuing our dream to run abroad for the first time. We prepared for this together, and we did it. Annie ran a 3:59 marathon, while I finished 2:08 for my half. It was an amazing, unforgettable event that we were only too glad to have experienced together.
Finding the perfect running buddy is like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s finding that partner that you have a certain chemistry with: one you can talk to for hours to make you forget about the distance or the pain in your legs, one who will adjust his/her pace according to the needs of the day, one you can trust to be there for you when the going gets tough in a run…or in life. That was Annie for me. And, I’d like to think I was the same for her.
Now, the sad reality. She’s leaving tonight. I am losing a running buddy, a sister, a dear friend. I burst into tears just thinking about our laughable conversations about thongs, tampons, or men who waved at us on the road. I worry who will be there to remind me to take it easy when I’m injured or to accompany me when I embark on a new cross training activity. And, worst of all, I choke at the thought of Saturday long runs and Sunday races without her. With Annie’s departure, running for me will never ever be the same.