Thursday, September 11, 2014


I'd run several miles with her, yet I didn't know anything about her.  Other than that she'd signed up for the same event I had, and her pace pretty much matched my own.  Otherwise, she was a closed book.

She ran like a machine,  Her feet - left-right-left-right-left-right - scratching out a steady rhythm, her arms moving in methodical accordance.  But the most noticeable thing about her, I thought, were her eyes.  SO focused.

She kept her gaze straight in front, fully fixed on her goal.

It was the Half on the Fourth half marathon.  I was enjoying myself well enough as it seemed like a fun thing to do on the holiday.  Supposedly, Wolfgang would've been in the pack somewhere ahead of me, but as it happened, I was going solo.

By the halfway point, we were pretty spread out and I was with the people I would likely spend the rest of the race with.  We were familiar enough with each other by then, speaking little words of encouragement to each other.

Another woman was tall and blond, her ponytail bobbing to the beat.  She seemed a bit Barbie-dollish to me at first, but we ended up chatting a bit as we plodded along, and she was actually pleasant company.

Ms. Focus?  Nothing.  She was seemingly in her own world.  Plus, she was wearing earbuds, so if I'd said something to her, I doubt she would've heard me.  She ran so methodically, I was curious as to what she was streaming.  Music?  Motivational speech?  Religious sermon?

By about mile 11, the bad parade had spread out even more, but Ms. Focus and I had been running together for quite some time - sometimes I was in front, sometimes she was - but we were never more than 10 yards or so apart.  Cool Barbie was a few yards ahead.

By then, it was hot and getting hotter.  The nervousness and excitement was long gone, and it was just a matter of finishing up.  So I was pretty much on auto pilot by then, just following the path.  We were running through a stretch of boonies - no aid stations, no place really for spectators

At one point, it suddenly hit me.  Where was the train of people in front of me as I looked down the path?  Right at that moment, I heard...


I turned to see Ms. Focus, standing on a bridge that had branched off to our left several yards behind me.

site of the save

"I think we go this way", she directed.

I looked across in the direction the bridge headed. Sure enough, there was Cool Barbie and the rest of the train.

"Oh, wow, thanks!  That woulda sucked, huh??", I said in gratitude as I doubled back to the bridge.

But by then, it was lost.  Ms. Focus was back in her world, earbuds firmly rooted in place.

We continued on to the finish.  Of the three of us, we would cross Cool Barbie, Ms. Focus, and me.  In that order.  I found Cool Barbie in the snack laden gazebo while I grabbed a most delicious orange.  We chatted a bit, wished each other a happy fourth, and continued with our respective holidays.

But, where was Ms. Focus?  I wanted to commend her run, but mainly, I wanted thank her again for saving me at the bridge.  But she was nowhere to be found.  *POOF*, like that she was gone.

She was real... wasn't she??


Linking up with Mama Kat again this week, for the prompt:

2.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: goals.



terri said...

Sometimes you think you have a bead on a person, and then they go and pleasantly surprise you like that. I had a similar experience yesterday - not involving running - but a shopping cart and a cart corral. Not nearly as fun as your story, but it left me smiling anyway.

Abby said...

Oooh, shopping cart ethics. I can imagine!

And, well... I wasn't really clueless. I just wanted to see if I could break her concentration.
Okay... I was really that clueless...

Rock Chef said...

Maybe she was going around again? :-)

Abby said...

Hmmm... I wouldn't doubt it!

Mama Kat said...

She sounds like some sort of jogging super hero. I'm glad you found yourself in her company because yeah...that really would have sucked.

ShadowRun300 said...

Oh, that WOULDa sucked! Thank goodness Ms. Focus was there for you!
She sounds a bit like me, running-wise anyway. I tend to stick to myself, yet seem to feel a bond with the other runners who are keeping my pace. I'd like to think I'da helped you out as well. Then again, I AM quite competitive....

Linda Hensley said...

After reading this and your last post it occurs to me that you're the only person who can write about running and make me interested enough to read it. In other words, really great writing. Good job!

Abby said...

I'm glad for her company too!

Abby said...

YAH, it woulda sucked... plus have been really embarrassing...
I think you'd have helped a stray. I could say that I let her beat me after the save, but she beat me fair and square!

Abby said...

HA, okay, I'll take that!

kelley jensen said...

I'm glad she saved you when you turned into "Ms. Focus" great story.

agg79 said...

I've had a few temporary running partners like that. Find someone in your same pace and you wind up sharing the road/pain with them for most of the course. Sort of an unspoken bond between runners. Good that Ms Focus was not totally zoned out and kept you on the right path!