Ode to Amy

Amy turns fortyish today and it’s high time I paid tribute to her, my BRF (Best Running Friend, for those of you not in the know).  We see each other almost every day…we work together, run together, even live near each other.  We keep each other sane at work and, more importantly, we hold each other accountable when it comes to gearing up for another race or just getting through that extra mile or two on a long Saturday run.

We talk about our running adventures at work so often that I’m pretty sure our co-workers (runners and non-runners alike) are over it.  This stops us exactly zero percent of the time.  Planning out a future race or hashing over the details of what went right or wrong on our last outing fills our days and occupies our minds when our jobs get a little boring.  Race details provide a pleasant (for us) and much needed distraction from yet another poor colon prep.

Side note, and a warning to sensitive readers: you may want to skip this next paragraph.  It is one of my very, VERY FAVORITE Amy stories and it is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.  My BRF is well known in our center for being one of the most badass GI nurses around.  This stems from a certain incident several years ago, during a particularly bad prep, in which we were playing our favorite game, Name That Food.  This game is every bit as disgusting and thrilling as it sounds.  The whole point of Name That Food is to identify a partially digested food particle appearing on the screen as something you think your co-worker might be about to consume in the very near future, in an attempt to gross them out of eating said food.  Some nurses are easier targets than others, and we prey on them mercilessly.  But my friend Amy?  Oh no.  Someone (might have been the doctor) identified (correctly we think, based on texture and smell) egg salad.  It was close to lunch time.  Amy promptly went out and purchased an egg salad sandwich at Starbucks and proceeded to eat it in the break room, to the joy and astonishment and gags of all around her.  She not only solidified her status as Ultimate Badass GI Nurse, but also set the bar for Name That Food just a little bit higher.  It was epic.

But I digress.  This story is about the importance of having a sucker by your side to make those long miles seem shorter and things like 200 mile relays seem not only like a good idea, but fun.

Most of you know that neither Amy nor I came to running early in life or in anything that could be described as a pretty manner.  The beauty of our friendship is based on the fact that we have real, normal bodies that nobody would ever pick out of a lineup as belonging to a runner.  And yet, here we are.  RUNNERS.  We’ve been through hot yoga and PopSugar Fitness videos and some misguided attempts at regimented training plans together, and it’s rarely pretty, but we keep showing up together.  She is my friend who has covered for me while I’ve peed just barely off the trail; the one who, mid-contorted-yoga-stretch, I can holler to from across the room ‘do you feel that one RIGHT HERE?!’ as I grab some nether region buried in my ass, and not only is she not disgusted (see above paragraph: nothing disgusts this girl) but I usually get a resounding ‘OH HELL YES’ in response.

Our closets are full of matching race shirts and we frequently show up for a quick little hill run on Wednesday morning wearing the exact same shirt, without having planned it.  Our chatter is near constant, despite the fact that we see each other nearly every day and you’d think we would have run out of things to say by now.  The one exception seems to be the hill climb on Wednesday…it’s our one nod to formal training, and we try to be religious about putting one day of hills in to our workout week.  It’s a relatively short route, only 3.something miles, but the climb begins right before you hit mile 1 and doesn’t stop until you’ve cleared mile 2.  During these miles, amidst all the wheezing (me), hand tingling (her), and slow plodding of feet (both of us), all you will hear is silence.  Any communication comes in the form of gasping curse words that would make my mother blush.  The swearing is how we check in with each other and make sure we’re still alive.  I love her but I’m sure as hell not turning around on that hill to go back and get her.  A well-timed f-bomb lets me know she’s right on my heels.

So, happy birthday to the girl who is Thing One to my Thing Two, the gal who knows important things like how many city blocks are in a mile and how much distance is left between this long run and my triple shot latte.  I wouldn’t be the runner I am today without you there to meet me on the corner of 128th and 86th.  I wish you yet another year of fun and craziness in the world of running!


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