I'm not sure which one of us is the Bizarro Sean, but Sean H and I seem to be carbon copies some times, mirror images at other. I just can't lose the guy, not that I am trying.
I ran my tenth marathon on Sunday, and I have finished five of them with Sean. He was the experienced one I could turn to with stupid questions as I prepared for my first in D.C. back in 2006. We had only seen each other a couple of times before then, but we became fast friends. We all set out together, and I finished hand in hand with his wife Marci, who I have run three full marathon with as well.
He is more outgoing and enthusiastic, and loves running more than I do. His passion has carried me to sign up for a number of great events. He and Marci actually went so far as to pay for my registration for the Las Vegas Marathon a couple of years ago. Creating that goal helped me get back out onto the roads and moving forward.
I am slowly catching up in experience, but still count on him for council. We have become each other's sounding board for running and writing over the past year. I can geek out with him about the minutiae, and debate for hours the benefits of one strategy over another. We both benefit from a different point of view, and it spares other friends from listening to us blather on. Mostly.
I suppose our running styles mirror our personalities. He is the rabbit to my tortoise. He plunges ahead, prepared, but pushing the envelope. I am his slow and steady counterpart, but unlike the fable, this rabbit wins 99% of the time. He is encouraging me to push past boundaries I have set up in my mind. I can't know they are there unless I test them.
We both ran the marathon on Sunday. We didn't run side by side because we were running very different races. He went out and set the first half of the race on fire before slowing in the later miles. He finished a solid 8 minutes ahead of me, giving me something else to chase. Not that we are competing, but it somehow helps to see someone you know achieve what you are aiming for. And he quite literally propped me up when I stumbled my way to the finish.
When I am back in Washington, I quickly fall in step with my old running crew. We share encouragements and victories in a flurry of texts in between the face to face meetings. For many of the miles, running is a solitary endeavor, and I enjoy the moments to myself. But there is nothing quite like toeing the line together and sharing the victory.
We both think the matching shirts are a little dorky. We don't always dress alike. Just when we run. Or when we work together. Aw crap.