Eric is a real, flesh and blood person. We went to high school together back in the old days and reconnected, like many people, via Facebook. It’s interesting because there are so many people from my past that I would have never communicated with had it not been for Facebook. For that, I am grateful. Had it only been Eric, it would have been worth it.
I am from the East Coast, but haven’t really lived there since 1989 after my first year of college. (weird since I’m still only 28??) I’m in Reno, NV. Eric stayed in the East, in Connecticut. Logistically it’s easy to be great friends – talk about how we’re both hair dressers (Eric actually was a huge part of my decision to change careers), how much we love our kids and how we both have a passion for running. Those same logistics that transcend distance in friendship have the opposite effect on physically being together. That just plain sucks. Big time….
I follow a blog called: http://23imaginaryfriends.blogspot.com in which she talks about how we connect with people via the internet, feel like we know each other but have never physically met. She has running “friends” through her blog and eventually meets some of them at races. I love this concept. Eric’s a real friend, but he’s my imaginary running partner.
I run alone often. It’s lonely. So I pretend Eric’s visiting Reno for an race we’ve planned to run together. Maybe I’m crazy (OK I am definitely crazy, just maybe not because of this), but it makes my runs more enjoyable. I get to show Eric my routes, we chat – he chats more than I do because I’m much, much slower than he is. I apologize for making him go so slow but he reassures me that he doesn’t mind. I know he’s sincere because I feel the same way. I’d rather run with someone slower than I am so I have company than to run alone. We talk about our kids, life in the salon, how difficult relationships are, our mutual love of running. We laugh. A lot. He doesn’t care that I snot rocket and spit, he’ll cover me if I have to make a pee pit-stop behind the dilapidated house. I can be completely and totally myself and so can Eric. I’m excited to show him around Reno on foot. We talk about aging. Yuck. We giggle about our roadkill count on our runs and how non-runners think we’re deranged. I tell him that on a run alone, keeping track of my roadkill count keeps my mind occupied because I don’t want to forget to tell him anything.
I believe eventually I’ll go East or he’ll come West like we’ve talked about for years. It might not be for 2 years when I’m planning a trip back for my 25th high school reunion (Seriously?? I’m still only 28??). I might actually be able to accomplish one of my goals to run the NYC Marathon and drag him with me. Maybe he’ll find time and money to come here and we’ll run a race here on the West Coast. Either way, it’s the planning that helps keep me motivated. The pre-race runs we’d have to do together, the post-race runs to burn off our lactic acid buildup. And the race itself. No matter what race we choose, knowing Eric will finish first and be there waiting for me to celebrate makes me happy. I know he’ll stick with me for the runs before and after because he’s my friend.
In the meantime, if you happen to drive past me while I’m on a run and see me giggling, rest assured I’m sharing something in my mind with my imaginary running partner. And it’s good…..