I met Justen through a mutual friend. Our friendship was one that grew slowly, as we would generally hang out in social situations as common friends got together from time to time. His interest in hiking and trail running and mine in running was our common interest and usually our main topic of conversations. His background was vague and one that he can get into with greater detail, but his passion of all things Seattle and trails peaked my interest.
An unknown amount of time had passed and our friendship progressed accordingly until one day he told me of his plans to run the North Face Challenge 10K in Madison, WI (we would later discover the race was actually in Eagle, some 60 miles east of Madison). At first chance, I hopped on my computer and looked it up, and what I found made me smile. An entire weekend devoted to trails and running! Later I would look back on this moment and think maybe I overstepped our friendship, but I called him up and asked if he wanted some company on this trip (basically I invited myself along). He said definitely and I signed up that day.
As the weeks went by and the race drew closer, I made a few feeble attempts to start actually training for this race. What was I thinking signing up for a 10K after 7 years of no running! Race day drew near and anticipation levels were reaching exciting levels. Then I got the news. Justen has been suffering Crohn's Disease most of his life, and he was having another flare up. He would not be running. I was pretty down but more concerned that he was doing alright. I figured that the trip would obviously be off, but he said even though he wouldn't be running, he was still going to make the drive to Wisconsin.
The trip went well and we had a good time over the 2 days. I ran an alright race for not having any serious training since 2002, and being a part of the race weekend was definitely worth it (although I would later tell him that I felt really guilty for running when he couldn't, and still to this day do). The race being in September, I kept up my running for several more weeks, not keeping a strict schedule but still getting in some light miles. Winter got closer and schedules got busier and I eventually found myself a non-runner once again.
Fast forward to April 2010. With the birth of my first son weeks away, needless to say things were getting a bit hectic. The events of last fall still running (pun intended) through my mind, I made a decision. Without giving it a second thought, I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon.
To be concluded...