My life so far has been filled with great partners. A few have managed to change everything.
The first to change my life was Mary. She and I met at work. I was new to Silicon Valley, new to public relations, new to marriage. So was Mary.
On my first day of work this tall, thin, blonde gal, with big eyes and long limbs came up to me and said, “Hi. I’m Mary. I’ve been here six months and its a hard job. Let me know if I can help you.” We’ve been friends ever since.
We’d run the Stanford Dish together and then unwind on her porch. She made me stretch and do stadium stairs (I once literally thought I was having a heart attack). We ran our first Wharf to Wharf. We ran our first Bay to Breakers.
This was before kids. Between us, we now have five.
She threw my first baby shower. I threw her 40th birthday party. In between, we started a company.
Mary made me realize you have to work hard to get better. She made me think about God and Jesus. She also made me realize you can be great — amazing in fact — and never really mention it.
You see, Mary is a two-time Olympian with four of those sacred medals, including a pair of gold. She has a pool named after her – more than one for all I know – and was inducted into three Hall of Fames. I recently read she is considered a “living legend”.
On all the runs, all the trips to the gym, all the races, all the challenges, all the talks, it just didn’t really come up. She never said, “We should do it this way. I know what I am doing.” Instead, she’d say, “You want to use the Galloway Method? Sure.” (Had I realized at the time who I had on my hands, I would have let her plan more of the runs!)
Finally one day I just had to ask, “Can I see the medals?”
She is an inspiration to me. She now lives in another state and I think of her often. I was thinking of her during the Olympic trials and I will hopefully catch up with her during the games.
Something else is incredible. She isn’t the only partner to change my life.
Running really can change everything.