One day after work I called her, hoping that we would see each other that day. We had just recently started dating for real.
“I have to go for a run first,” she said. “How long?” I asked.
“Ten miles.” I nearly dropped the phone.
Two hours later she texted me a photo at the end of her run. She was tired and red from the sun, but she didn’t look grumpy though she said she was.
For years I resisted running as an exercise. In fact, I resisted most kinds of exercise and running for any reason. When we met I was salsa dancing and while that was great, running seemed insurmountable.
“You need to start running,” she said. “Then we can run together.” I grasped for excuses not to and there weren’t any.
Several times she ran a half-marathon race through Disneyland. Thirteen miles, starting before 6:00 a.m. One year she ran with a group of hometown friends. They got a hotel suite and planned to wake up a 3:00 a.m. to go to Disneyland and run. Really? Who does that?
Of course they were energized and couldn’t sleep. That night I posted:
“I’m so amazed, impressed, proud that Charla is running the Disneyland half marathon tomorrow with her besties from home! Still, wake-up call is 3am and she can’t sleep, so I thought a bedtime story might help.”
Alongside that post was a picture of the children’s book parody, Go the F*k to Sleep. The almost asleep girls in the hotel room broke out laughing.
A year later, I stood in the pre-dawn cold in a throng of thousands of people. All dressed in running gear, on top of a parking structure in Disneyland. The race started. We saw the sun rise amid the park’s rides and all those runners. Thirteen miles later, we crossed the finish line holding hands. Proud.top