Chasing Amy: Losing a Training Partner
I ran in the rain and cold with a stranger this morning. He was wearing last year's marathon shirt. We did not talk. I Enjoyed him simply as a #Windbreaker and then Suffered through his #Backsplash over puddles. I did also sprint to beat him at the finish (my finish, he kept running.) We never spoke. I think he might have been ignoring me. But an 8 mile run at 5:30AM can be lonely... especially if you are missing your training partner... so I wrote about mine today.
One Year Ago I wrote this blog about my training partner Curt Nuncio. I met him in 1998 when we worked at the same TV Station in Denver. I ran my first marathon with him in Colorado, we ran the Chicago Marathon together, and after several years of living in different states we reunited and ran the New York City Marathon in 2011. Maybe because I was searching for something familar in my first year here in NYC - I had really appreciated Curt's friendship. I told him several times during our training, when he was still alive. WHO GETS YOU TO THE START
The marathon was great. The weather was ideal. We crossed the finish line. Smiles. Medals. In December, Curt helped our family get a dog... playing Santa's helper until Christmas Eve. In January, we ran once a week. In February, we ran a bit more. February 18th we ran 18 miles. I was out of town the following week and our normal run days were Mondays.
Our next run would have been March 5th. I texted him. Called. Did he lose his phone? Facebooked. Emailed. Something was wrong. March 8th his sister Chris called me, the NY Medical Examiner called to say Curtis Lyle Nuncio had passed away. While walking down the 68th & Broadway on a Saturday afternoon, he struggled, fell, and never got back up. A bright, fit marathoner in his early 40s. The ME said the cause of death was Sarcoidosis. I still don't know what it means. When I look it up, none of it makes any sense. He was in the prime of his life. I never heard him cough or complain. We had just run 8 miles in the weeks before. All I really understand is that he's not here any more. This year, training has been tough. I have run with friends on and off. I've met some really great people on my runs. My family has rallied to run with me. My son even spent part of the early Fall running with me. I do not mean to complain. I just know what it feels like to lose your training partner. When I run alone I do miss Curt!
Maybe this happens to you on your long runs. You get to a point in the run where you are a bit more tender, a bit more emotional than you typically are... it's part of the runner's high I think where you tap into parts of yourself that aren't near the surface. This is when I am the most grateful for the runs I had with Curt. Since I have four sisters, I think he was what it must be like to have a brother. The emotional roller coaster of losing someone has happened. I've felt all those things. But what is left.... will actually never leave. His optimism. His support. Gatorade stops along Cherry Creek Path. Mr True Blue. An endless supply of funny stories and happy moments. The miles that we logged together. Those are still with me.