Sunday, December 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to a Great Running Partner

Kimball, Frannie, and Me in San Tim

I hope most of you will pardon this fairly personal post, but today is the birthday of the best running partner I have ever had.  His name is Kimball Hoff, and he was beside me on pretty much every run I did for several years. He was everything a great running partner should be patient, supportive, helpful, funny, dependable, inspirational, intelligent, disciplined, spontaneous, and faster than me. J  For years we ran together through sunshine and rain, trails and roads, slow easy days and barn burners down the canyon. We just had a lot of fun with our running.

I will never forget times running down San Timeteo Canyon singing old Gordon Lightfoot songs at the top of our lungs, often to the chagrin of any other runners in hearing distance. To be fair, that was not Kimball’s fault. He had a great voice; I do not. However, I make up in volume and enthusiasm what I lack in skill. Kimball never cared. He was a great friend.

At Tucson, with Kimball and
my other running friends

My years running with Kimball led to many PRs on my part. When I met Kimball, I was a 3:45 marathoner. After a few years of running with him, I ran a 3:24. He was not a coach, but the synergy of us running together helped me to reach heights that I never would have on my own. Kimball was also there to introduce me to trail running. It was his idea to enter the Winter Trail Running Series, way back in 2003, that eventually led to my desire to be an ultrarunner.  For both of those things, I am forever grateful.

Winter Trail Series 2003

Unfortunately (mostly through colossal stupidity on my part), Kimball and I are no longer running partners or even friends. That is one of the great regrets of my life. Still those golden times that we were running partners and friends (that I did not appreciate nearly as much as I should have at the time) will always remain precious to me. If you have a running partner, take a minute to really appreciate how much they add to your running and life. Let them know.

So, happy birthday, Kim! Thank you for all those ways that you made running better for me and so many other runners. I hope you are still running and running well. I miss you.

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