Quick background: down the hall from my office, there’s a set of blackboards and a little bucket of chalk. Students, faculty, staff, random people on campus tours… basically anyone can share their thoughts and doodles on the board, and then it gets erased nearly every morning. You never know what’s going to appear on these blackboards, and it’s always fun to see what pops up each day.
Yesterday the blackboard’s contents caught my eye, and luckily I had my phone on me so I could snap a picture before it disappeared:
Since I’ve got running on the brain quite often these days, the first thing that popped into my head when I read this was my running buddy-dom with Colin.
For months, whenever we ran a race together, we ran a race together – side by side the whole way. Then came a race when he had to stop, but it literally hurt me to stop with him (my hamstrings protested like no one’s business), so I kept going after getting his blessing. A few months later I was the one who had to stop during a race and Colin took off with glory and a shiny new PR in his eyes. I felt a bit abandoned and eventually aired my grievances, Colin reminded me how I had abandoned him before, and we came to some kind of understanding. I think.
Anyway, the proverb really rings true for me. The times we’ve separated, one of us has gone on to be fast, and the other has had to rely on self-motivation to keep going. During one race this past March, Colin had to walk after wearing himself out tearing up a giant hill, but told me I could carry on. I ended up running my second-fastest 5K that day because I didn’t have to slow down to a comfortable pace for his niggles, but he ended up struggling until a fellow runner gave him some encouragement in the last mile. On the flip side, we stuck together for the entirety of our longest race thus far, and though we ran slow, we were able to keep each other motivated and felt like we could have kept running after we completed the 4 miles. Clearly we have the ability to go far if we stick together.
The proverb rings true for my other running buddies, too. Drew kept me going during a race when I decided I wanted to give up, and I would probably have crawled most of another race if I hadn’t had Elissa running with and supporting me. I’m still so proud of my first-ever race… I’ve said this a million times on this blog, but I had only ever run 1 mile at that point and ended up running an entire 5K without stopping, all because Colin and Gina ran with me and encouraged me the whole way. Because we ran together, we ran (relatively) far!
So here’s a thank you to my running buddies for sticking with me, encouraging me, humoring me, putting up with horrifically hot summer races, running with me in the dark after work in the freezing cold, putting up with my whining anytime the temperature got extreme (in either direction), and basically for being awesome. I might not have decided to stick with this running thing if it hadn’t been for you!
What do you prefer, running with a buddy or running alone?
Has a stranger ever encouraged you during a race?
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