You could hear us coming long before you saw us. My kids were in elementary school when I found a friend to run with. As I sat on the edge of a pool at a birthday party, I found another runner friend. Before we knew it, there were six of us and any given morning an email went around asking who was running, what time and from where. I never ran alone and often you could see the six of us taking up the whole road in our rural town. As one of our husband’s said, “You women make quite a racket coming down the street.”
One day my husband said “you girls think you’re so cool. You’re like the Pink Ladies” a reference to the 80s movie, Grease. Soon enough we were running in pink Pink Ladies hats and if one of us found a pink running shirt, we always bought six. And you could definitely hear the Pink Ladies before you saw us.
We stayed in great physical health, but the emotional support we gave each other was priceless. Imagine getting 45 minutes alone with a girlfriend or a group of friends, multiple times a week. No phones. No kids. No husbands. No judgment. When our kids were small, the problems were small – not making a team, struggling in reading, friend issues. As they got bigger, the problems got bigger – private school, college, were they drinking? what was their sexual orientation? We didn’t only talk about our kids, we talked about our marriages, our parents, our dreams. A Pink Lady re-entered the workforce – our runs moved to 7 am. A Pink Lady moved into the city – we ran along the Charles River on weekends. What’s a Pink Lady birthday like – a morning run followed by homemade scones, flowers from the garden, and presents.
This last year has been difficult for me because I moved out of state. I still run but not as often and not as long. As the pandemic dragged on and we were all looking for motivators, a Pink Lady reached out and said “Let’s do the New York City Subway Challenge. You run all the miles of the NYC subway.” She’s the same one who the year we turned 50 said to me “We are turning 50 this year, we should do a marathon.” I said back “I am pretty sure we will turn 50 whether we do a marathon or not.” Next thing I knew I was opening the “Congratulations you have been accepted into the Chicago marathon” email. While I cursed her many a hot August day at the end of an 18 miler, the pride I felt crossing the finish line in Chicago will stay with me forever. So, I signed up for the subway challenge and we ran over 240 miles in 2 months from wherever we were. At the outset, I kind of jokingly/kind of seriously suggested we call each other and talk on the runs. And that is how I was back in Pink Lady therapy.
I laced up my running shoes, put my phone in its holder and strapped the holder onto my arm, put my air pods in, and set out. I waited for the phone to ring, for the others to get merged into the call, and then we started our run. I am not sure what the neighbors thought when they saw me, the lady in the pink shirt running down the road chatting away to no one.