Sunday, August 3, 2014

"Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running." -Sarah Condor

Sometimes, running alone is just, well, lonesome. Or uninspiring. Or just plain not happening when there's a cozy bed to sleep on at oh-dark-30 on a Saturday morning.

Though I haven't done it since Ronald Reagan was president, I suspect it's akin to dating. It may take a few "dates" to figure out your perfect partner. Here's the deal, though. With running you can have multiple partners and still see your silver anniversary and beyond. 

Here's what I've tried so far, with mostly excellent results:

Run with a good friend who loves you despite your challenges

My friend Karen is one of my favorite people. She's incredibly active (yoga, biking, weight lifting -- sometimes all on the same day!) and a longtime runner. And she obviously has at least some warm feelings about me, too, because we run on a relatively regular basis despite our differing running styles and, ahem, abilities. Plus, we live less than half a mile from each other. Bonus!
A run with Karen is always a treat. We get to catch up, bounce ideas off of each other, solve the world's problems and basically talk nonstop. There was a time when I relied on asking her open-ended questions in an unsuccessful attempt at catching my breath. Now, I've built more stamina, if not yet the speed, and am grateful that she uses her week's easy run to spend time with me.

Everyone needs a Karen in her life, and I'm not just talking about running.

Run with a neighbor

When I first started running, a neighbor invited me to meet up with her. I mentioned I was new and slow. She told me not to worry. I was geeked and nervous as we met in the street between our houses.

 It was a disaster. 

She ran much too fast for me and didn't say much, leaving me breathless and feeling like I should keep up the conversation. We didn't run very far (probably a couple of miles) but it felt like 20. I'm sure it wasn't what she'd envisioned as she left me in the dust and ran another five miles by herself. 
We never ran together again.

It wasn't a total loss. Now I know to be even more clear about my and my partner's expectations. And I don't apologize (too much) when I have to ask him or her to slow down or to run ahead.

I may try it again. Neighbors can be great partners because logistics are just plain easier. And it's just nice to get to know them better beyond saying "hi" while getting the mail. 

You'll be able to tell which of your neighbors run -- they're the ones wearing the $100 sneakers and lime green or highlighter yellow T-shirts, and have the 5K, 13.1 and 26.2 stickers on their cars.

Another option is to join a group. I've joined two and love them both for different reasons. I'll tell you more in my next post.

Do you run with others? Who do you run with and why?

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