I find it interesting that I used to dislike running with other people, especially since I never really did run with other people. How would I know that I don’t like it based on assumptions that are basically just guessing? I guess that’s what assumptions are anyway.
This weekend, I ran 17.55 miles with my coach who is training for Grandma’s Marathon in three weeks. We run pretty close to the same pace and since I didn’t want to lose all the speed and endurance I built up for Boston, I let her know that I’d run with her. Yesterday was the 3rd weekend I did just that. I was only expecting to do 10ish miles until she posted the map. It wasn’t a few loops, it was a course that took out all the way out and led you all the way back. There was no point of return, no double loop, no stopping, unless I wanted to leave her for over half, which isn’t something I wanted to do. Of course, she would’ve been fine since she has run by herself a lot and had three friends on bikes along the way (which is totally awesome and I want my friends to do that when I do my long runs this fall), but when you say you’re going to run with someone, I’d like to think that finishing that run is probably an important part of it.
When I learned that I’d probably be doing the entire thing on Saturday, I had to mentally prepare and get myself fed the proper way. I cut out a few beers that I probably would have had (although the ones I did have were fabulous, even more so after doing a lot of yard work again on Saturday), and I ate A LOT just before getting to bed at a decent hour. I have to admit I was a little nervous about being able to finish that long of run, but I was also excited since as you may know, I’m still in love with running. I figured I would just go with the flow, and if I needed to stop or cut it short, I would do just that.
Sunday morning was beautiful. The temps were in the upper 50’s and the humidity dropped significantly. There was a group of four initially, plus the three riding bikes, and we started off just after 7 am. Long runs aren’t always fun, but their difficulty levels can be reduced when you’re sharing the pain with other people. You can chat, stay silent, whatever you want, but sometimes, it’s just nice having someone else there with you. I’ve mostly run my long runs by myself, but when I run with others, they seem to just go by faster and be less…. well, annoying. Those pickup miles may have been made slightly less painful with others along for the ride too.
When I think back to all those years of running by myself “because I don’t like running with other people”, I think of the friendships that I may have made, the things I could have learned, and the fun I could have had. I wonder who could have pushed my pace, who could have told funny stories to make the rest of us laugh, and what I could have done to help someone else.
I look forward to getting out there with other people now. Today I’m swimming with others and hopefully, in a few weeks I’ll be biking with a few friends too. In fact, had I not already planned to run long on Sunday, I would have had the chance to bike ride with someone on a new route. How cool is that?
So really, as much as I do enjoy running to the beat of my own iPod, I’ve learned to enjoy the company of others as we pound the pavement. And yesterday, I didn’t even turn my iPod on the entire 17.55 miles. I would have never believed it had you told me five years ago that I’d be running in a group with no music and really enjoying it.
So to anyone who doesn’t run with a group, just give it a whirl. You just never know what may happen.
Monday – open water swim
Tuesday – easy run
Wednesday – bike ride
Thursday – easy run
Friday – possibly some speed work at the track
Weekend – we’re having a par-tay so I will not be doing anything!
I still haven’t gotten the hang of running with others. I’m usually good for about 5 miles and then I want to run on my own. It might just be that I haven’t found the right running buddies, but I suspect it’s introverted me. Honestly, reading your post, it makes me wish I were different about it.
Running and cycling with others has definitely helped me get faster, so I’ve experienced the benefits of working out with others. I still like a solo workout from time to time 😉