I think it’s rare to meet people who are optimistic and enthusiastic in such a way that it is not annoying but is actually contagious. Probably because I tend to be a Pessimistic Patty. Enter Jessica. Like Molly, I also met Jessica at the airport and she was also on my relay team for Hood to Coast. BUT, Jessica was in my van! Bonus.
Jessica kept repeating “This is so exciting!” and “This is so fun!” and other similar things until I couldn’t help but laugh. She was completely sincere and her words were just the overflow of her happy heart. It was great.
Jessica is a fabulously fast runner. She beat us to her second exchange because she was averaging 6 something min/miles. She got lots of road kills. (I had absolutely zero, by the way. It was like my first relay all over again.) The funny thing about Jessica is that she doesn’t seem to own the fact that she is so fast. Not yet anyway. Apparently it still seems new to her. Throughout the trip I kind of pieced together Jessica’s running journey.
Jessica wasn’t super into running until adulthood. Her first couple marathons were 5+ hours. However, she eventually moved into a new level of speed and, like Molly, ran a Boston qualifying time even with a couple potty breaks during the marathon! What? Really? She talked about nearly winning a local 5k but not realizing that the other woman on her heels was using her as a rabbit and waiting to sprint by her just before the finish. She has become a runner that others are sizing themselves up against at the starting line. She is now a certified RRCA running coach and Pilates instructor!
This is the kind of running journey I find REALLY encouraging. An adult starts running, trains for a marathon, and ends up becoming a fast runner and doing a lot of marathons! I like that story. I want that story. I wish I had more time to hear about her journey and discover her secrets.
Her last leg of the relay was long and lonely but she savored the moment and came in to the exchange glistening with sweat and glee. She shared her sweat and glee by hugging each of us in turn and leaving Jessica imprints on our Nuun jackets. I even got some ear-to-ear sweat transfer in the hug. I know that sounds gross but sweaty hugs among a relay team are a privilege. She said she was thinking about how amazing it was that we all got the chance to be here for this relay. How silly we all were for making fools of ourselves on video and putting it on the internet for a chance to do this. And here we were. Our dreams fulfilled. How lucky! How blessed!
Jessica must have some magic sweat. After that hug I kept thinking about how right she was, how lucky we are, and how blessed I am. Jessica was a breath of fresh running air. She is a great runner, but not in your face about it. She is so appreciative about the opportunity to run. I think that kind of gratitude is super important if you want to be a runner for life and also if you want to encourage others to be healthier and happier, which is exactly what I want to do.