Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We run together

What do you do when you finish a really great book, or your TV show has a crazy surprise twist, or your kid says something hilarious? Me - I tell my running partner all about it on our run the next morning. It's amazing the range of topics covered on a simple 6-mile run at 6 in the morning.

I have been blessed enough to find some running partners in my own neighborhood. For years, my friend Sarah lived just around the corner from me. We would meet early in the mornings before work and run and chat and get a good start on the day. She's the one who got me started running with friends. In fact, we even went on a cruise together with our husbands and ran circle after circle after circle around the top deck together. Not the best running route, but we did run my very first Hospital Hill half marathon less than three months later, so it got the job done.

When Sarah told me she was moving out of our neighborhood, I was kind of heartbroken. What would I do? Well, it turns out another Sarah lived right across the street from me, and she was also a runner. What are the odds of that? Actually, the odds probably aren't that crazy. I don't think you can swing a cat without hitting a Sarah born between the years 1976-1985. Very popular name, that one.

We started running our weekday runs together. Even running while we were both pregnant (our girls were born a mere 6 weeks apart). Now when Sarah and I talk about the possibility of either of us moving, it is with the understood agreement that the other will be moving right next door.

I guess you could say I'm addicted to running with girlfriends.

I haven't always been this way. Years ago, I ran all my runs on my own. In fact, on the rare occasion my husband would run with me, I would get mad at him if he tried to talk to me. How dare you try to converse when I'm just trying to finish?!? I just didn't get how it could be done.

Talk about a 180. Now, even though I will run on my own if I need to, if I have an option, I will absolutely always choose running with someone. Even when running by myself, I like to listen to the podcasts by the ladies at Another Mother Runner. These two ladies chat back and forth about running things, so it's like I'm talking to my girlfriends. And, yes, you might have seen me laughing to myself as I'm running alone listening on my iPod. I'm sure I look much cooler than it sounds like I do.

Not quite two years ago, a good friend of mine decided to take up running. I couldn't have been happier for her. But, we lived quite a distance away from each other, so I didn't see how we could become running partners. Then, she introduced me to a whole new way of running. Running with a community.

I had been a runner for 13 years and had never really felt like I was part of the Kansas City running community. Then, my friend Anne starts running, and my eyes were opened. Sometimes you just don't know what you're missing because you've never tried anything different.

 I started meeting Anne on the weekends for long runs with SundayRunday, a group that runs on Sundays (duh), with every range of runner meeting together at the start, running the same course, and chatting as everyone finishes.

When we couldn't run on a certain Sunday, we tried out the Saturday run at Ultramax. Then, we met a guy at SundayRunday who also runs with the Olathe Running Club. His group runs on Saturdays, too. Turns out, there are all these different communities of running I never knew existed.

Through Anne, I met Kelli. We became a trio. Through Kelli, we met Ally. Then, there's Marsha and Stephanie and Malynda and Kelly and Megan and Pam and Libby. All incredible women met through running. Not to mention all the time I get to spend with old friends, Anne or Sarah or Katie or Kay, in a new way: running.

I'm not saying there aren't great guys out there running, too, because there are. I'm just highlighting women because I typically run with women. Guys usually aren't as eager as girlfriends to discuss the latest episode of Downton Abbey on a 10-mile run.

In fact, myself and some of these awesome ladies I've been talking about actually made it onto the Hospital Hill 40th Anniversary poster this year.
Talk about a wonderful surprise. And, an awesome way to commemorate some of the amazing ladies running has brought into my life.

Not only have I made great friends to run with around Kansas City, we've even gone on running vacations together. My current running partner Sarah and I ran a marathon in Oklahoma together 9 months after having our babies. My weekend running friends and I have been to Florida to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon and to a couple half marathons in Oklahoma.

These ladies help me get out the door for a long run when I just want to sleep or motivate me to do speedwork when I just want an easy run. We help each other get up those tough hills and through those tough times.

Stephanie, Me, Kelli and Marsha

Me, Anne, and 1st Sarah

Kay, Me, Kelli, Kari and Anne

2nd Sarah and Me

Me and Katie at last year's Hospital Hill

I credit a lot of my sanity as a mother/wife/person to running with girlfriends. It keeps me motivated and most importantly, keeps my runs FUN. I highly recommend finding good running friends. Laughter, mommy stories, celebrity gossip and the latest TV show recaps can go a long way to crossing those miles off your training plans.

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