Running in Public

Running has been a solitary journey for me. I’ve never claimed otherwise. For me, every single run (excluding paid races) has been solo.

Until now.

Beginning this month, my best friend (Theresa) and I started running together. Theresa has run since she was a teenager, but she is not a distance runner (yet!). So far the majority of her runs have been aimed toward 5k races, with a single 10k under her belt. She’s faster than me, though, by quite a bit. Where I might naturally fall into a 14:00 pace, she’s closer to 11:00.

We’ve been a natural fit. I can keep pushing us to do “one more lap” and run just a little farther. She pushes us (well, mostly me) to run faster. Our runs have mostly been intervals(ish) – run for a given distance, walk for a given distance.

When we run together, I go to her house and we run in and around a nearby park. Our first week or two were a bit slow – only about two days of running per week. This week has been our most intense week of running so far, with runs on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We intentionally took the day off today (Thursday) to rest.

Beyond the runner’s tan and the nightly tiredness, I can tell the intervals are pushing me. Running faster, for me, is not natural. It is difficult, sometimes almost impossible, for me to push myself when I am alone. When I’m with Theresa, though, she’s a built in “rabbit” that I can use to gauge my pace. I push myself. I run faster than I would if I was running alone. No, it’s not easy, not by a long shot. And it’s totally worth it.

I’m still cautious about running with people. It’s such a personal experience for me, and I’m not willing to share that with just anyone. Running with a buddy is new to me. But so far, I’m thanking my lucky stars for this summer and my old friend/new running buddy. It’s been incredible, and it’s only getting better.