If the truth be known, I’m a trail slut. I’ll run trails with anyone, anytime, anywhere.
It takes a special person, however, to get me to run on pavement.
They have be tough enough to smack me around if I start to whine about asphalt and traffic.
That’s where Kayleah comes in.
She doesn’t hesitate to slap me, keep me focused.
She’s tough. She’s my road pimp.
Kayleah is training for her second Boston Marathon, having qualified again last fall at the Columbus Marathon. She runs three or four road marathons a year and a whole bunch of shorter races, mostly on roads.
I’m training for a road marathon too, my first one it three years. So it made sense to get together and knock out a few miles.
Today, we ran about 90 minutes on pavement, in and around Fort Ben.
I know I’m in good hands when I run with Kayleah. She’s strong, focused and determined. She sets big goals and gets the job done.
“Kayleah, you know I won’t run roads with just anyone, don’t you,” I told her.
“That’s right,” she said. “I don’t want to find you running roads with anyone else. I’m your pimp.”
“What would you do if you caught me?”
“I wouldn’t pay you,” she said.”I’d cut you off.”
And she’d probably pimp-slap me, too.
We ran for 10 1/2 miles today, in an hour and 29 minutes. Then Kayleah went home to run a few more miles on her own. I told you she was tough.
Ours is a running friendship unlike any other I’ve had. We met about four years ago, shortly after I moved to Indianapolis. I didn’t have any running friends. I hadn’t joined any running clubs. I was a lost lamb.
One morning, wanting to find someone to run with, I checked out some running clubs on the Internet, and found when one of them was meeting for a run. Then I drove to meet them.
So there I was, hanging around the Monon Trail near Broad Ripple, looking for the group at 8 a.m. that Saturday. But either I was late or the group had taken off early, because I never saw those runners.
However, I did see one guy in running gear, stretching, looking as if he was about to start his run. “Is there a running group that meets here on Saturday morning?” I asked.
“I don’t know about that,” he said. “But you’re welcome to run with me. I’m just waiting for a friend.”
And a minute or two later, the friend, showed up. It was Kayleah, all smiles and glad to find another person to join her run. We all took off down the paved trail for an eight-mile run.
A month or so later, we ran into each at a 7-mile road race, and ran it together. And a running friendship was born.
Ever since that first day, Kayleah has kidded me that I was the little lost runner who couldn’t find anyone to run with.
We’ve run a dozen or so races together, including the Cleveland Marathon in 2007, where Kayleah qualified for Boston the first time.
Me, I’m still trying to qualify. Maybe I should run more often with Kayleah. She knows the road to Boston.
She’ll get me there too. She’s tough. She’s my pimp.
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