Long Training Runs

Saturday morning’s run was to be a long training run. After a rough week, one where I only got two runs in of three miles, I was concerned that this run was going to end in failure. I didn’t know if I had the endurance to go past eight miles, even though I ran a half marathon in May. It’s funny how your doubts let you believe that you’ve lost everything you have built up.

After chatting with the iCan Running group and doing our stretches, we took off. My dear friend Kara and I were leading the pack, as most of the group was running slower due to the humidity. Kara and I just saw it as another hurdle to get over, to learn to deal with and push through it.

We chatted and laughed, which is all too common on our runs together. It’s our way of catching up with each other and making the most of this beautiful moment in time. There we were, in the early morning, two best friends enjoy a run and the beauty of the trails we were on. You really can’t ask for much more!

At one point we turned to see where the other runners were. Much to our surprise, they were nowhere to be seen. I knew we were running faster than they were, but I didn’t think we were that fast. We resumed our run and Kara said “Thank you for running with me, it would suck to run this far alone.” I thanked her too, and thought about how much easier the long runs are when you are with someone.

Most days, I run alone. It’s my Zen time, a chance to get away from everything and everyone, to clear my head and regroup. But, I love running with Kara and Stephanie, and the other runners in our group as well. Those are times to learn and teach, to help and to receive help.

But there is something magical when you have one or two running partners that know you so well, that are your closest of friends, that will always be there for you. These bonds develop over time, and countless miles covered together. And somewhere down the road you realize how special that is. Your pace is the same, you know when they will move a certain way, you look for the same things (we saw a deer watching us today). It becomes instinctive.

I would recommend to anyone starting out in running, especially distance running, to find a buddy to run with. Work together to assist one another in achieving each other’s goals, hold each other accountable when it comes to training, and hopefully you too can feel the magic of having a very special training partner.

We ended our run at 13.8 miles, and a total time of 2:22:31. It was hard to believe that I was worried about going eight miles. Kara sent me a note later saying “Thanks for the run. Just like old times.” Yes it was, and I hope the beginning of many more runs that are “just like old times.”

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