The thing is, I always say yes. And the truth is, I love that she always has these (crazy/last minute/why-the-hell-not?) ideas. AK is a runner, and she understands the intrinsic joy/pain that comes not only from running, but from being a part of a larger community, the camaraderie that results from spending time together on race day-the pre-race anxiety, the adrenaline, and ultimately, the shared satisfaction of the finish, no matter the results.
AK is present in every sense of the word, in running and in life. She shows up. She's fast, funny, smart, and compassionate. When I told her I was running my first 20 miles a few weeks ago, she said "We'll have to have a parade of sorts! This is a big deal for me!" Funny part about it is, even though it was my first 20 miler-she's run many, many of them-it was a big deal for her. She's a supportive friend and running partner and she's invested in my training in a big way. Furthermore, she wants people to get all the crazy that comes along with logging the long, long miles.
So it was perfect then that for my first 20 mile extravaganza, I met AK at 6:05 and we ran the first 5 miles together. She then met up with another running partner and I ran the middle 10 miles by myself, and then Denise was kind enough to meet me for the final 5(thanks Denise!). It was a little like a parade in that I saw so many friends out on the road-Len, several times, who's training for the Kiawah full, Joe, who's training for the Spinx half, and John S, who is just a machine, to name a few.
So the run began with AK's optimism, company, and steady pace, and ended with her optimism, excitement, and congratulations back at our cars. I've since gone on to run another 16 and am running another 20 tomorrow, and though I know there will be other great runs on great days and bad runs on bad days too of course, it will be difficult to top that 20 mile day two weeks ago, thanks largely in part to AK.