When I first started writing this post it was about the Javelina Jundred virtual race (the “Pig Race” in the title), using running frequency and consistency to deal with all the new stress and anxiety created by the COVID-19 world, and being able to “run” with Ivy who is on her own quest to, slowly but surely, run 100 miles. This post was about the day to day grind and finding joy in running again even if those miles were slow. Running as meditation, running as therapy, running as remembering why I started training and racing 15 years ago.
Then my world changed. One of my very best friends died suddenly and unexpectedly. A 5 minute phone call telling me he was gone. Silence.
Over the past few days I’ve struggled with grief, pain, mortality, and my own expectations for myself as a person and as a friend. And in a lot of ways I’ve ended up in the same place I was when I first started writing this post.
Let’s start with the most important part. Arne was brilliant. He was funny. He was caring. He was a fantastic partner, client, mentor and colleague. He was also a pain in the ass and just the slightest bit obnoxious, especially after a few beers. So, for me, he was pretty perfect as a friend. I loved Arne as much as I’ve ever loved any of my friends. We had a platonic connection, a chemistry, that I’ve never had with anyone before and that I doubt I ever will again. I don’t have words to describe how devastated I am right now. He was my person and now there’s a huge hole in my life.
Arne had a lot of dreams. He and his wife had purchased land in Colorado and were working on designing and eventually building a dream house in the mountains. He also had athletic goals. South central Colorado is a bit of mecca for running, hiking and biking. He would talk to me for hours about the trails he was going to hike, how he was going to complete the Run Through Time Half Marathon, and how he was going to take up gravel biking (Ryan even created a spreadsheet for him on the pros and cons of pretty much every gravel bike on the market). His plan was to work really hard now so he could retire early and do all these things. It didn’t work out.
Arne was also super supportive of mine and Ivy’s pursuits (and Ryan’s too). He loved the fact that Ivy wanted to run 100 miles. When he had a particularly crappy day I’d text him video of Ivy running. He was also my support system for when I struggled with consistency. He may have thought some of my exploits were crazy, but he remained supportive.
Now that he’s gone, I want to curl up in a ball and cry for a very long time. Ivy keeps telling me to try to calm down and take bunny breaths.
I’m not good at being vulnerable. I try not to let people see the cracks. Right now I’m all cracks all the time (while leading a Zwift ride I was told its ok to cry on the bike because no one sees the tears through all the sweat).
His death makes me realize (and, yes, I know this is cliche) that I get to do this. I get to run 100 miles in the month of October. I get to spend time with Ivy getting her to 20 miles in a month (“j”ooray Javelina Jopeful). I get to see Ivy fill in her hundred mile running chart. I get to conquer my fears and start riding outside again. I’m capable and able to swim and to bike and to run.
Sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective. Everything feels like its too much and too hard — COVID-19 has done that to a lot of us. Until something enormous hits you and rearranges life . What I have, what all of us have right now, is opportunity. We can all run our own Pig Race. And we all should. There’s no time to waste.