“And we can build this dream together. Standing strong forever. Nothing’s gonna stop us now”
Running partners. They suffer with you for every miserable mile. They cheer you on when a run is going well. They make that long road less lonely, especially when that road is about 18 or so miles.
This post is for my friend Lori, who I’ve been training with every weekend and some week days too. It’s great to find that special someone, especially when taking on something as big as a full marathon. Our speeds are so similar that people in the running club tend to comment on some “healthy competition” between the two of us. I tend to beat her by a few seconds on some 5K’s, but she is clearly a better distance runner. Our speed similarity made us a good match for our long runs, but there are other things that complement us too. I can get so fixated in the details – I would tell her before the run “Okay if we are supposed to do a 10:40 pace, then at 6 miles we should be at 1 hour 4 min..” and she’ll turn to me and say “Well I’m just gonna run.” Yup sometimes you need to get me out of my own head.
This is her fifth marathon, while this is only my first. Experience alone says she will do better than me. There is a part of me that wants to do as well as her and that small competitive spark is there, I can’t help it. We are following the same training plan, so it’s hard not to compare our runs. But I try to take a step back when it gets too much – she is running her race and I am running mine. We will both get the same medal and the same feeling of accomplishing a major goal.
I had envisioned us starting and finishing this race together, but unfortunately from me she got placed in a higher corral and will be starting the race over a half hour before me. I’m happy for her that she got an earlier start time and would never want her to move back for my own selfish reasons. I had hoped her presence would keep me from going out too fast and furious and killing myself halfway through. She is so grounded and focused when she runs, it’s something I am trying to strive for. In the end, it is probably a good thing that we are not running together, because then I won’t always worried when I fall a step behind or lose focus of why I am there in the first place.
I’m so grateful of all my running friends, who have been there when I get a PR or when I fall and sprain my ankle. They may not be the reason I started running, but they are the reason I continue to do it, week after week. So here’s to all of them, but right now especially to Lori who has to put up with me more than most. You’ve gotten me through this training and without you, I probably wouldn’t be feeling as positive as I do about this race.
Readers – do you have someone that you run with that has helped you with your training or racing?