In high school cross country, my team did something every season called Secret Pals. If you were in team sports, especially as girls, you know the drill. A team captain divvies up names to every girl on the team, and before each meet, you’re supposed to give your secret pal a little gift like a bottle of Gatorade, some granola bars, maybe a pretty hair tie, and some encouragement in the form of a note of well wishes. These gifts were typically packaged in brown paper bags and decorated with magic markers. At the end of the season, the secret pals revealed themselves to each other and it was a fun time to thank a teammate for the encouragement they provided over the season.
Not to pick a favorite secret pal or anything–because all of mine were great–but my most favorite secret pals were the girls who took time to decorate their bags with quotes I loved reading quotes about running and saved many of them, later transcribing them into a Word document on my computer. My coach also frequently put quotes on the bottom of our workout or pre-meet information sheets, so I always had a plethora around me to learn from and soak up.
Today as I type this, less than 48 hours before the start of my third[!] marathon and my husband’s first, I can’t help but think of those days of high school cross country, secret pals, and the heartfelt encouragement and camaraderie we shared.
While I wasn’t forward thinking enough to be my husband’s official secret pal with treats and all for Sunday’s Columbus Marathon, I have been thinking this afternoon about some encouragement for him. So, here’s to Ben’s race on Sunday, secret pal meets the 21st century style! I love you! You can do it!!
“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”- Steve Prefontaine
“A runners creed: I will win; if I cannot win, I shall be second; if I cannot be second, I shall be third; if I cannot place at all, I shall still do my best.” – Ken Doherty
“I don’t think about the miles that are coming down the road, I don’t think about the mile I’m on right now, I don’t think about the miles I’ve already covered. I think about what I’m doing right now, just being lost in the moment.” – Ryan Hall
Ready or not, 26.2 is a-coming, and I need to be a-going. Happy weekend!
P.S. We’re planning on running the race together. You can follow my times on Twitter.