Part of what I'm doing for our brand-spanking-new fundraising campaign is dedicating one mile of running to every contributor over $10. And then I get to blab about it (as I am wont to do).
Today I ran five miles and dedicated them to the first five contributors: Heather and Martin Flanagan, Anonymous Contributor #1, Anonymous Contributor #2, Hilary Lorenz and David Goodwin. These were five amazing people to take with me on my run.
Mile #1: Heather & Martin
First off, you need to know this: Heather and Martin subletted my wee Calgary place when I first came to New York. They answered an online ad and literally made it possible for me to come here for my five-week (HAHAHA!) adventure in 2010. They played an incredibly special role in my life here and we've kept in touch ever since.
So it's lovely that they were our first contributors and my first mile-long dedication. It was a fun mile, full of delights. There was a sprinkle of rain, as though the sky couldn't quite decide what it was doing, but the streets were wet enough that the cars on the BQE made that really satisfying spray sound as they sped by. At the very beginning of this mile, I passed a little girl who slapped her dad's midriff with both hands, yelled 'Your big fat belly!' and then ran away, laughing maniacally. Then I passed a beagle who had perched himself up on the guardrail so he could watch the traffic. And right at the end of that first mile, I starting thinking about how weird running is and I forgot what to do with my hands.
Which brings us to...Mile #2: Anonymous Contributor
I love Anonymous Contributor. This person is selfless, possibly a little shy and ridiculously generous. This person wants to make a difference and doesn't want to make a big deal out of it. And what a difference they make.
Mile #2 was a very lovely, very green uphill mile. It began with a symphonic burst of birdsong from the trees near the lake. I don't know where Picasso used to go to "gorge on green," but it might as well be Prospect Park. All the first-mile jittery energy had mellowed out, so I was feeling centred and strong (and I pass that feeling on to you, dear, Anonymous Contributor). I remembered a post I read yesterday form someone who said that hills were speedwork in disguise (I pass this wisdom on to you, Anonymous Contributor).
And then, my sweet Anonymous, things got weird.
First, I got passed...nay, trounced...by a short-legged chick with a weirdly inefficient stride and a crazily bouncing ponytail (hello, Ponytail). She did not look like she should be passing me, but she MURDERED me! And then, from the opposite direction, came a shirtless, barrel chested Captain Ahab. He wasn't fat but there was a lot HAPPENING. I guess I'm just not used to seeing that amount of chest hair in the morning. I offer you, my most Anonymous friend, He Of The Gelantinous Pecs.
Mile #3: Anonymous Contributor #2
I have decided this was a couple. I have also decided that this mile was prophetic for Anonymous Couple's life. After the tough grind of Mile #2's hill, Anonymous Couple's mile was a welcome thing. Rolling, speedy, beautiful and quiet. The wind had picked up but it served to stave off the humidity that had gathered since the rain petered out. The hard part was over.
It's smooth sailing, Anonymous Couple. You've been through a lot, but things are good for the next stretch.
The second half of this mile had more people in it than the rest of my run and I had a moment of blissful convergence when all the people around me seemed to be part of the same body. All moving in their own rhythms and directions, but somehow connected.
Mile #4: Hilary Lorenz
This mile was a perfect Hilary mile. It was lovely and straightforward, just like her. She is one of the tribe of fierce runner women I have been lucky enough to gather around me in the past year. She's also an artist and one of the most generous souls I know.
Hil, this was your mile. This was the mile that, I hope, you take with you on your race this weekend.
It was freaking FAST. All downhill. The wind was a bit stiff, but it held me in check. I focused on foot turnover and in honor of Hil, I got my game face on. I adopted a race mindset and focused on staying present and alert. I pretended to be Hilary in her race: calm, fast, focused.
I blazed past the ghost finish line of the better of the two relays Hilary and I have run together and I declared that mile a victory.
Mile #5: David Goodwin
What better way to end my first dedication run by honoring a man named Goodwin? A man named Goodwin who is from the UK no less? It doesn't get better than this. And it doesn't get better than David himself who is not only the second tallest person I know in New York, but also one of the most spontaneously friendly and generous as well. He is a friend of Speedy Hilary from Mile #4 and I am proud to now call him my friend. He also introduced me to the Zombies Run app and every time I get chased by the undead, I think of him.
This was a perfect finishing mile! Another birdsong symphony. A stunning panorama of the lake. A Parks Department motorcade. Cars honking uproariously and another Captain Ahab spotting. Only this time I realized he actually looked like a 1980s topless squash club version of Ernest Hemingway. Prophetic? I hope so.
So ends my first five dedication miles. Because I am surrounded by more generosity than I can believe, there are already 17 more dedication miles to be run. You want one, too. You know you do.