Thursday, June 23, 2011

Running Buddy

One of the best things about running is being able to run with a friend. It is hands down the best way to stay motivated, and there's nothing like good conversation to make the time go by faster.

At times I consider myself very social; I love spending time with my hubby, friends, and family. Yet other times I can be a bit of a hermit, content being solo in my cubicle or at home. Same goes with running. Except for the occasional meet up for a race, I was a solo runner. I don’t need to tell the average’s tough to find someone who runs roughly your same pace and who has a similar schedule. Oh, yeah, and someone you actually like.

Autumn and I became friends in high school, when she was on the pom squad and I was cheering. We weren't really close then, but we were definitely acquaintances. After my freshman year of college, I came back to Memphis to cheer for the all-girl squad, and then affiliated with the sorority I had joined at Southern Miss (I lucked out, being that Phi Mu would've been my top choice at Memphis anyway). Autumn was the first person to welcome me in, and it was so nice already knowing a few girls. We hung out with the same group throughout our college years, and even though we weren't super close then either, we would always run into one another.

About two summers ago, we started running together. I would always see her at various 5Ks, and when she moved just a couple streets down from me, we decided it was time we became running buddies. Throughout our almost three years of running, she has introduced me to new routes, I'm less lazy because I don't want to stand her up for a 5:30-6 am run, and I've learned to stay on pace. Not only has she kept me motivated, but she encouraged me to run my very first full marathon. While training was somewhat of a downer at times (Autumn wasn't able to finish training due to a foot injury and I had my own struggles), she was there by my side - even on her bike at times - the whole time. And I couldn't have done it without her!

Don't get me wrong, I still love running by myself at times (no music either...just being able to hit the pavement and zone out). And actually, last week was the first time we've run together since a week before the marathon. I took some time off after the race, she was resting her foot, and then we were both in and out of town for various reasons. It sure is great to have her back!

A good friend, Andrea, recommended I read Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong. It's a book about the beauty of running, the importance of nurturing relationships with those we love, and the significance of reflecting on our experiences. I can't wait to read it!! And I'll be sure to write a review once I do. :)

"At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship." - Benjamin Cheever (from my Runner's World Daily Inspiration)

Through my love for running, I have gained a lifelong friend. And I'm so grateful for that!

Autumn and me before the St. Jude Marathon

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