By Christopher Cudworth
Veronica McLaughlin and Maura Hirschauer had just returned from their first workout together and were hanging at the local Panera Bread enjoying some coffee when We Run and Ride asked if they’d like to talk about their workout partnership. They both laughed and looked at each other. “This is the first time we’ve been out together!”
They have been neighbors for a while, yet both are relative newcomers to the town where they live. Each has young children and thus appreciates the the time they are able to spend working out because it carries forward their own athletic histories. .
Maura mentions that she was a field hockey player in high school and college.
“Did you wear those skirts and everything?” Veronica asks her.
“Yes, we wore those classic kilts,” Maura smiles. “Now the girls still wear skirts but they’re more of an athletic cut.”
“Like skorts,” Veronica offers.
“I love skorts!” Maura agrees. “It’s like they do better with a woman’s thighs. The Spandex shorts underneath are great.”
Veronica comes from an athletic background as well. She relates her tomboy status as a kid growing up. “I have four brothers. In school I played basketball and volleyball. I would have played football if they let me.”
Given her strong desire for athletics and love for playing sports with the guys, it was likely inevitable that Veronica would tear her ACL one day. Still, the experience was traumatic. “I had the whole operation,” she relates. “They used the middle section of my patellar tendon. That’s my ACL now.”
Later came a back surgery that was even tougher to manage. “But I can’t not be active,” Veronica smiles, eyes flashing at the thought of not working out. “So I came back.”
She’s done triathlons and has now gotten her certification as a personal trainer.
Maura listens to this history with studied fascination. The earlier workout had been the first time the two had actually gotten together for a walk or a run. “We met each other first as moms and next door neighbors,” Maura relates. “So we’re still kind of getting to know each other.”
They both laugh. This is obviously a broader friendship in the making.
It’s been a steady road for Maura since college. She kept on running after her field hockey career was over. “But I don’t really consider myself a runner,” she says quietly. “I mean, not compared to other people. I just run 5 days a week. I’m not fast…but I did have a great running partner in college. We were the same pace and when we got out there we talked and talked.”
“But you are a runner,” Veronica smiles, overriding Maura’s genuine humility. “I know people who go out once a week and call themselves runners.”
The conversation takes a turn into the subject of sub-cultures within the greater athletic community. “I worry for some people,” Veronica says. “They get so caught up in something like CrossFit that they’re actually hurting themselves. They’re trying to measure up to some expectation within these subcultures that they’re competing with some crazy notion of intensity. My goal is to help people learn how to work out the proper way, be a teacher to them. That’s my background.”
“I also want to help people diversify. It’s hard when someone gets hurt in their sport and they’re miserable, depressed people. My job is to ask them, ‘What is your ultimate goal?’ So I see motivation and accountability as the job of a coach. I want to help people find a more complete picture of fitness.”
Later, in an email exchange in which We Run and Ride shared the iPhone pics with Veronica, she mentions her strong spiritual background. She discusses the significance of chance meetings and how they can provide renewed motivation to achieve goals.
Their really are so many signs in this world if you pay attention. But it all starts with getting out there where you can meet others and see the world in a new light.
That’s how we run together and thrive together. By paying attention to the signs.