This morning, like most Sunday mornings, I spent some time thinking about what topic to write about this week. There are shin splints and hydration and what to wear for cold or warm temperatures. There’s nutrition and long runs vs. tempo runs and treadmill runs too. There are shoes and socks and must-have gear. And who can forget Body Glide, Rock Tape, and first time-race tips. There are motivational stories and runners overcoming amazing obstacles everyday.
In fact, it was the first time we had seen blue sky in probably weeks:
The half group had three miles to run and Duane and I had 12 miles to run. We breezed through the first mile and a half to the turn-around point. There was chatting and laughter the whole way down to the lake. In fact, the Lucky 13’s even took the first mile a little fast – it was about a 12:49 pace! People were feeling good and enjoying themselves and you could see it in the smiles on their faces.
After a mile and half, Duane and I sent the half runners back to the starting point and we continued on to our 6 mile turn around.
We had a good run and I got to run out to Como Park – a place I had never been before. It always fun to discover new places, even if you are running in your hometown!
We kept up a pretty good pace until about mile 9 when things got a little tense. It was hard – I was having trouble breathing and Duane was battling some quad pain. Yet, we chatted here and there – Duane made me laugh with his jokes – and we made it back to Antrim and the water stop. With only a mile and a half to go we stretched and hydrated before hitting the trail again. Mile 10 was the hardest and after we left the lake Duane said to me, “Who said this was fun?” I laughed and said, “Come on, you know you’re having fun!” He responded, “Oh yeah, the time of my life,” with all the sarcasm in the world.
It was then that I – we – realized we really were having fun. There was a moment of silence as we pushed through the last mile even though we both wanted to walk. I told him I couldn’t have finished the run without him and it was true.
Running is not always easy, and I don’t think I would want it to be. It is during the hard runs – that I have been reminded why I really do love running. It gives me the confidence to do what I never thought I could do (12 miles as a training run?!) and it has given me wonderful friends to share those things with. I have more fun running with my team then I ever do by myself – even on the bad days.
Running should be fun and sometimes I think we need to take a step back from our training, racing, pavement pounding, and PR-ing to remember this. After all, isn’t it fun and the thrill of achieving our dreams that attracted us to running in the first place? Haven’t we had some of best times fun with fellow runners? I know I have.
So today, if you are out on your run, take a minute to think about the fun you’ve had while running and the people that have been there to share the joy with you.
And remember, every now and then, get out there and run for fun.
Until the next mile marker,