I started running almost 10 years ago to break up the monotony of graduate school. Once I downloaded the Couch to 5K plan, I looked on my calendar, selected a race, and started training.
My first 5K was somewhere in Champaign, IL. It took me through a winding park is about all I remember. I bet I got a t-shirt I never wore as part of the entry fee. There weren’t many people, though, at the time, I probably thought it was so many people. I was impressed that I finished and that I ran the whole thing.
Upon crossing the finish line, I was immediately ready to sign up for another race. Endorphins! I kept running over the years, finishing three half marathons and a bunch of 5Ks and 10Ks and one 10-miler.
I am not a fast runner. I know my pace. I’m a solid 11-12 minute miler on my good days (though I tend to go a bit slower pushing a stroller). Before I had E, I was holding steady at 10 minutes and, on a particularly fast day, could hold a nine-minute mile and not die.
Since E, running has become the thing I most love to do and cannot find enough time to do it. My most important possession is my running stroller. If I can get out of bed on the weekends, I will go running. Running is my sanity saver. I am a better, calmer, saner, more focused person if I can run. On days when I think I can’t go, I just think about how miserable I’ll be with everyone and out the door we go.
This morning, I did not want to go run. Enter: my Best Runner Friend. The text-cerpt above shows one of our usual conversations in preparation for going for a run. I love Jen. She is persistent, available, encouraging, and always willing to run. I really was ready for her to say no, that we should just bag our plans and stay in bed, but, instead, there we were, encouraging each other. Because we have been running together for several years now, we are really good at the platitudes. We could probably spout them in our sleep. Thing is, they work! Sometimes, I’ll complain that I don’t want to run our usual three miles and she’ll remind me that the hardest part is the first mile and if it really sucks, we can stop after the first mile. Funny, we never stop. When we had finished our run this morning, I told her about my other BRF, Shaun, who signed me up for a 10K for my Birthday. That same friend has designs on us running a half marathon in the fall. Who does she think I am?
Apparently, they both think I’m a runner. Jen reasoned that all I need to do is add a mile to my long run each week and I’ll be back up to 10 miles before I know it. She said it so logically that I nearly believed her.
See how easily they get me back into the running groove? Best Runner Friends. That’s the best part of running for me now. The absolute best part.
One year ago: #sol16: Alvin Ailey Afternoon
This post is part of the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers, who have created a space for writers and teachers of writers to come together. To learn more about this challenge, click here.