Keep Up or Get Lost – Running Freinds

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running friends

At mile 12 of two brutal, but finished, 8.5 mile Kensington loops. #MarathonTraining

Running with friends is one of the most rewarding aspects of my running routine. Just when I think I will never run another mile, a friend invites me to lace up and come for a run. The invite always presents itself at the perfect moment when I am in need of some major encouragement. Running friends are some of the best encouragers out there!

Along with supplying a wonderful support system, running friends can also tell some of the BEST stories around. While some of these stories are of the “what-happens-on-a-run-stays-on-a-run” variety, there are also many worth sharing. (Just don’t tell them I told you.)

Keep UpThe Slowest Runner

It’s true. Of all the runners I know, I’m the slowest runner. Don’t mistake this statement for self-pity. And please don’t encourage me to incorporate training techniques that will help me run faster. I don’t say this because I feel inadequate, or because I’m sad about it. I say it because it’s true. And it’s the basis for this particular story.

In the beginning, we were all training all the time. Our race calendars were full and our goals were big. So, getting together for a run didn’t always mean STAYING together on a run. They We were always interested in running new, challenging routes that would improve their our run. Often times, I would drop back and settle into my own comfortable pace that I knew I could maintain throughout the entire long run. I learned to really enjoy it back there, plugged into my iPod with nothing but me, the music, and my nagging head that’s always telling me to walk for just a minute. There was no pressure that I might be slowing anyone down. (The thought of being an anchor sends debilitating anxiety through my entire chest.)

Our new course was challenging but beautiful. It wound around some of the best scenery in our area. The rolling hills and winding paths were a welcomed change from the city-block-sidewalks we normally pounded throughout the week. I kept my girlfriends in my sights most of the way. It was on the last leg of the run, the leg that veered back off toward the downtown area when they disappeared from my view. I wasn’t at all worried. I knew where I was going. Except it certainly felt like I should have been there already. What’s a runner to do, but to just keep running? So, I picked a path and took it.

Relief began to settle in as I came through the wooded area to an opening along the road. Unfortunately, it left as quickly as it came when I realized exactly where I was, 2 miles from our car in the wrong direction. Two miles might not seem like that long. But, it is when you’ve already run eight and have three people waiting for you to finish behind them (who are probably very worried). The pit in my stomach rose straight to my throat and sat there in disbelief until tears finally started flowing down my cheeks. It was a sad sight.

I made my way to the nearest place of business; a restaurant (not a Coney Island), and not even remotely open at 9:00 AM on a Saturday morning. Luckily I spotted a cleaning crew inside and began knocking persistently until one of them opened the door. They were kind enough to let me use their phone… which made NO difference whatsoever since the only phone number I’ve still managed to keep memorized is my ex-boyfriend’s parent’s house from 1994.

I mean, yes. I know my husband’s phone number. He was working. And laughing. Out loud.

The woman cleaning behind the bar felt really bad for me. Despite a rather large language barrier, she agreed to drive me to my car, where my friends were waiting, worrying, and forming a search party.

We look back at this moment and laugh a lot. We also learned a few tips to incorporate into our future training plans:

  1. Run with your cell phone
  2. Distribute your running pal’s phone numbers to your family members
  3. Stay together, in pairs, or leave bread crumbs

We also know now that desperation translates well across multiple languages. So, thank you, my Spanish speaking angel. I am much obliged.

Have you ever gotten lost on a run? Share your story in the comments!

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