Saturday, January 29, 2011

Running Pals

One of the great things about running is that you can choose to make it a solitary (almost meditative) thing, or you can choose to run with friends. There are times when I really enjoy a run by myself. Last spring, when I started getting serious about committing myself to running again, I was getting up a few mornings a week at about 5:45 to go for a run before anyone else in the house was awake. I would stealthily roll myself out of bed to put on the running clothes I'd laid out the night before...tip-toe quietly down the stairs, carefully avoiding the squeaky spots... leave out of our basement door to walk through our dewy yard, carefully avoiding the dog poo...and, finally, open the gate to get to the path that runs behind our house. Sometimes it almost seemed like a workout just to get to that point without disturbing anyone else's slumber! But, it was always worth it. To experience the start of a new day in solitude and gratitude was an amazing gift.

Against my husbands wishes, I would run right up the hill and out of our neighborhood onto what I think of as "the open road". We live in a neighborhood that sort of sits like an island in the middle of a sea of soybean and corn fields. (Really makes you wanna come live here, doesn't it?) Well, I learned to really love those open fields. It made me feel like I could go forever. In reality, I could barely make it three miles. But, being out in that openness gave me a great sense of peace and I felt an incredible joy that I was able to be out there in it, seeing the sun rising over the corn. Have you ever seen a field full of green soybean plants with the wind sending waves across it? It's actually quite beautiful. (My younger "the Midwest is, like, sooo boring" self would not believe these words are coming from my brain.) So, I went on like this for the rest of the spring and the summer, on these great morning runs by myself. I had worked myself up to running four miles, and considered this a great feat. Enter, my next door neighbor, Karen...

So, Karen is my next door neighbor, and I knew she liked to run. But, she'd just had her second baby in August, and I figured it might be a while before she wanted to get back to running. Yeah, not so much. A few weeks after her little girl was born her husband mentioned, as we were chatting at the fence, that Karen and I might like running together. Someone else might want to run with me?? Those green fields of soy, while beautiful, were getting a little lonely. Karen and I talked that day and set up a time to run early the next Saturday morning. When Saturday morning came, I met her in her driveway and we rode together in her car to a spot outside of the neighborhood where we could safely run from (her husband was also not fond of her running on "the open road" of which I spoke). I thought to myself "she just had a baby, like, three weeks ago. I'm sure we won't go very far this time." Nope. "You wanna try going four miles?" she said. "Um, yeah, sure." I said, probably in a "huh??" kind of voice. So, we did. Four miles, just like that. That's when I knew that running with Karen would push me to new running heights. And, it has. She was training during the fall for a half that she ran the first weekend in December. So, I was lucky enough to train with her. We kept up those early Saturday morning runs, and she helped me to keep pushing myself further. I ran farther than I thought I could. And, there is no way I would have ever done that by myself on that "open road". Not only did I increase my mileage, I really got to know Karen. We passed the miles with conversation (when we were able to breath enough to talk, that is), and we became friends.

Just today, Karen called to see if I wanted to go for a run in the neighborhood. I told her I'd be ready in seven and a half minutes. I feel incredibly lucky to have a kindred running spirit right next door. I think God definitely puts people in your life right when and where you need them.

Some other thoughts today:
  • I woke up feeling less sore than I expected from yesterday's Spin class. What is sore are my shoulders. Must've been tensing them up on the bike. Oh, and my crotch feels bruised. Yup, I need padded bike shorts...
  • I really want to start posting some pictures as part of my blog entries. I've been checking out some other blogs and think photos definitely make a blog more interesting to look at/read. Plus, it seems like fun. Jeremy took some really cool photos of the ice dripping off the fire escape stairs on the back of his work building. I'm thinking he could be my Pho-Blographer? Blo-Tographer?
  • I haven't posted on Eat. yet. How is this possible? I do so much of it. Eat. posts to come soon. I promise. I've even thought of putting up a section of my favorite recipes. We'll see...

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Awww, shucks. :-) You have done the same for me...pushed me to be better. Running with you these past 5 months has been a blessing in my life. Let's never move, kay?