A running partner I can keep up with, I laughed to myself as I ran along with him in the quiet darkness. The irony did not escape me. My current partner, steadily holding pace, was Max the Lion Hunter. I dreamt of this. I wrote of this dream. And now it was a gorgeous reality.
He doubled as a security guard, though there is nearly zero crime in my town, but having a strong guy beside me certainly made the darkness feel safer.
Once much faster than me, Max now had been limited by a halti, and an autoimmune illness, both of which take just enough out of his speed to create the perfect running partner for me. It might be the first bright spot we've found during his illness, which has caused weight loss, pain and rashes, and obviously slowed him down quite a bit.
I've slowed down a bit too though. Since the Stump Jump 11 Miler in October, runs have been sporadic, and though I've been lifting and doing other cardio, it only takes a couple of weeks of inconsistent running to take a toll on my form and speed. Settling into a winter running routine has been more in my mind than a reality. I needed a warm breezy night and someone to run alongside me to get going this evening.
Tonight I forgot that I had not been running nearly enough, forgot that winter is here, forgot about Max's lupus and just settled in for a run. We dodged tourists in town, waved to shop keepers closing up for the night, glanced longingly at bar patrons enjoying a beer on the patio on this unseasonably warm November evening, and kept running.
At no point did Max pull, he instead was a dutiful pacer quietly keeping me company while we wound along our route on the brick sidewalks of our town. There may be lions to hunt in the future, but for this evening, we'll just run.