Today I woke up at 5:30. I was grumpy, tired, cold, and all those other things that keep us in bed in the morning. I wasn’t getting up to run a race or attack my workday early. I was getting up to meet someone on one of my Mom listservs to go out for a run at 6:00.
When I noticed a post for someone looking for a running partner at this ungodly hour I quickly responded. If I was going to be a morning runner, I needed to make it a habit. To make it a habit, I needed something or someone to motivate me to get out of bed. There is no better motivation to get up and run than knowing that someone out there is waiting for you. And let’s add, on a cold spring morning in the dark!
Of course, I had my reservations about meeting someone by the local running trail who I have never met before. What if this person was posing as a man and wanted to kill me? What if we met Jack the Ripper on the running trails?
To quell my natural fear of everything and trust of no one (ok slight exageration here) I called Kelly before we ran. Convinced now that she was indeed a woman I rose to the occasion and met her rigtht on time.
We started off immediately a little fast for my taste, but then again at 6:00 my taste is not to be moving at all, but whatever, off we went, breathing in crisp not-yet-polluted air with the sun quickly rising right in front of us. By 6:10 it was fully light out and we were zipping along at a healthy pace talking about kids and jobs and just trying to get to know one another.
Why run with someone anyway?
I must admit, I prefer solitude when I run, but as I get older, I am finding that running with someone else is nice for many reasons. You have someone to share your life with who enjoys running. The comraderie is engaging and good for the soul, and I am sure all the psychologists of the world would agree, that the exercise combined with the relationship is good for you mentally, physically, and spiritually on many levels.
Besides, I have been wanting to switch to morning runs for many reasons. Most are for the same reasons most of us run in the morning –
1. Time constraints at the end of the day (in my case I need to pick up my kids by 6:00)
2. Fatigue at the end of the day to run
3. Late day meetings
4. End of the day hunger
5. Weather or seasonal issues (rain, cold, darkness or a combination thereof)
6. Increased energy at work
7. Better mood knowing you exercised already
How do you know which partner is for you?
There are a few prerequisits to running with someone new. First, you need to have about the same pace and you MUST have the same running goals. As for personality, you won’t know if you like this person until you run together a few times. If you can tolerate this person long enough to stand spending your wee morning hours with this stranger, you will, through time, look forward to your runs together.
Such was the case when in 2000, when I joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team-in-Training to join the San Diego marathon training program. I befriended a woman named Chenoa, who was married with no kids like I was. We worked hard to raise the money we needed for the race and thankfully, we not only ran the same pace but planned to train and run the marathon together.
Through time, we got to know each other very well. We talked about our relationships and familes. I learned a lot of inimate details about her childhood, her mother, and her homelife. I am sure I shared with her, details of my life – private to most people except my running partner. We both talked about starting a family – and when I became pregnant two months before the race, I shared the news with her. It was so great to know I could talk about the pregancy in the wee early stages and that she was as excited about it as I was.
We ran that marathon together the whole way. We were in a true relationship. So much so that I even waited for TWENTY minutes while she stood outside a porta-potty at 13 miles. I thought about leaving but I was in this with my partner.
We finished the race and afterwards, ran together though not as frequently. Unfortunately, Chenoa moved across the country but she has a child of her own now, and has completed a few triathalons. We keep in touch by email and while I miss her comradery, having her in my life durning my pregnancy was wonderful.
Kelly and I run the same pace and both desire to be faster. She is training for a triathalon and I, another distance race. She’s keen on possibly throwing in a speed workout and/or track session, and that’s good to know. Between 6 and 7 in the morning, we can accomplish quite a bit, and improve our fitness together.