Sunday, October 27, 2013

5 years later: Thank you, Charlie

An open letter to my friend, Charlie who may not have known it at the time, but changed my life on October 27, 2008

Dear Charlie,
We became running partners in September 2008. You, my boss's wife, befriended me and on Saturday mornings we would drive to the National Mall to run about 5 miles. You taught me how to wake up at the crack on dawn on Saturdays for our runs. I had just moved to DC and was in need of a friend. On our runs we talked about everything from grad school, to religion, to pop culture, DC, anything. We even talked about the preposterous idea of running the marathon, even when we were only running 4 or 5 miles. And on those runs we conquered the day and emerged as the sun rose victorious. I wasn't a regular runner then, but in that month I started to turn into one.
And on October 27, 2008, I returned to DC from a weekend away and to an e-mail from you in my in-box. While I still don't have that e-mail anymore, I know what it said. You said that we had been running long enough and that we should give the marathon a shot. The National Marathon was just under 5 months away, and that we should do it.
Running 13 miles the day before the first Obama Inauguration
And then we said yes to that preposterous idea of the marathon. The next weekend, we ran 6 miles through Rock Creek Park, the beginning our marathon journey. The winter became colder and the runs became longer, moving eventually in the double digits. And our friendship blossomed in the wintry weather of DC. We ran our first race together, the Jingle All the Way 10k, in 55:04, and the desire to race more continued.
You had some injuries, so you switched to the half marathon and I stayed with the marathon. We didn't run as much together, but we met on that fateful morning to run the National Marathon/Half Marathon. It was one of the best days of my life, and it changed my life forever.
All smiles at mile 17 at my first marathon
I became a marathoner and a regular runner, and it was because you took that impossible dream and made it possible. You convinced me that the marathon was doable and now I cannot imagine my life without running. It has introduced me to hundreds of people, brought me to the greatest marathon of the world - Boston, showed me that I was competitive and had the potential for more. It was one of the most meaningful things that someone has ever done me.
And then you moved away in 2010 and we fell out of touch, which happens. I miss you a lot and I just want you to know that you made a permanent, meaningful impact on my life - that is what your friendship has done.
Five years later, I'm still smiling and still very grateful. Thank you for that e-mail, for the suggestion to reach for the impossible dream and show that it was a reality.
Your friend,

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your memory of me. You're too kind and too gracious. I'm grateful that you found that part of your self Nessa. I'm glad you're still running and I'm glad to call you my friend. It has been too long since we've talked. Feel free to email me ( or call me 757-604-5411. If you're ever in the Asheville area please please look Joyce and I up. I would love to see you. Peace and love.