Today, was the end of an era. A short era, as eras go, two or three years, but an era nonetheless.
Work/Racing/Running buddy Mike's last group run before jumping to another job was today. I was supposed to go. Got sucked into the evil vortex. Yep, lunch meeting.
They hit the trails, took it slow, chatting the usual nonsense and vulgarities. Me? I was sitting in the wobbly chair at the end of the conference table, staring at a PowerPoint. A PowerPoint depicting a software architecture.
Not my first choice.
So the run went on without me.
Mike used to be strictly a treadmill runner. He'd pound out slow miles, alone, in the poorly ventilated closet labeled "fitness center", watching SportsCenter. Once coaxed outdoors, and assured we wouldn't hurt him, or leave him, or make fun of him, he soon became a core member of the lunchtime runners, and a damn good runner, at that.
Since then, he's done some half-marathons and some triathlons. More importantly, he's been good company on many otherwise dreadful runs, passing the time with inane stories, horrible jokes, and IndyCar bench racing.
I'm sure he'll find some people to run with at his new company. They won't be as cool as us. And they won't think he's funny. At least not "ha ha" funny.
Losing a running buddy is like when a friend moves away. Sure, you're still friends, but it's not the same. Mike will surely stay in touch, and we'll certainly meet up for some runs now and then, but, it won't be the same.
Still, my longest friendships have been with running buddies. Even when distance, or age, or heart attacks (I'm not kidding) keep us from running together, we still have a bond that's forged over hundreds of miles. It's the kind of bond that might change, but it'll never go away.
See ya Mike, and from the bottom of my heart, F*ck Off! I mean that, buddy.
Numbers: 2.8 miles.