The Second F
I had my best run of the year this afternoon.
Two miles, twice around a loop in a south Charlotte neighborhood. Pace was about 11:15 per mile. The sky opened up in a drenching downpour during the last two-tenths of a mile.
This came at the end of a year in which I’ve run six marathons in six different states. One was my fastest time in 13 years; two more came on back-to-back days in June. I ran a Blue Ridge Relay Ultra, two Mud Runs and a Super Spartan with my brothers on the Gathering of North American Distance Sprinters racing team. This year, I’ve trained along Highway 1 in the Florida Keys, the Embarcadero in San Francisco, the San Diego waterfront, the Katy Trail in Dallas and Millennium Park in Chicago. I’ve crested State Street in Charlotte at sunrise to see the city’s skyline aflame in the orange of another dawning Sunday.
Today, though, I ran with the Rock, our F3 brother who had surgery last month to remove a tumor from his brain.
He was wearing his new, red F3 jersey and his F3 beanie. He’s put on some weight — the steroids they’re giving him to keep his brain from swelling have the unfortunate effect of melting muscle and making him simultaneously voraciously hungry and unable to sleep, a recipe for rampant Ben & Jerry’s consumption if ever there was one.
As we ran, Rock talked the whole time. Non-stop. And what he talked about — repeatedly circled back to — was getting back out there in the Gloom with the F3 Faithful starting 1/1/12, the date his doctors have cleared him to resume full workouts.
He talked about how he’s gone out to the Latta workout the last couple of Saturdays, just so he could walk and jog lightly in the same space as the other guys while they were doing their pushups and jump-ups. He swore that because I was there to run with him today, we went twice as far and at a much faster pace than he had gone on his own just yesterday.
Rock will have radiation treatments next month to try to zap the part of the tumor that the docs couldn’t remove back in November. I don’t know what lies ahead for him, and neither does he. But I know that the thing, in addition to MRock and his three beautiful kids, that is motivating him not to doze his recovery days away, not to convalesce in a darkened room with a flickering TV, is his passionate desire to be back out there in the Fellowship of the F3 Nation.
If you’re on the list of guys we’re headlocking for 1/1/12 at Eastover Elementary, your primary motivation may be of the New Year’s Resolution variety — 2012 is the year I’m finally going to get in shape and stay that way. That was certainly one of Rock’s main motivators when he posted at AG on 1/1/11 as a founding member of the Class of ’11.
But when he posts a week from Sunday as a founding member of the Class of ’12, it will be because he now possesses the same insight that sparked the men who started this movement almost six years ago at Freedom Park; an insight that was passed to Dredd and myself and that we have tried to share with all of the growing F3 Nation: You’ll come once for the Fitness. You’ll come back — again and again, in Gloom and bright sunlight, heat and cold, wind and rain — for the Fellowship.