Friday, May 28, 2010

On Running Partners

On Wednesday (also my 22nd birthday!) I got up early at 8:30 so I would be ready to go with Tess at 9. Having someone to go with definitely made it easier to get out of bed--I'm just as likely to decide to sleep another hour as I am to put on shoes and get out the door at this point, so thank you Tess!

The run itself was still hot. My guess is about 75, and temps later that day definitely got above 90. Talking made it difficult to keep up speed, but the run felt like it went by really fast: 33 minutes felt like about 15. I could tell Tess likes to go faster than I usually go, so I appreciated her keeping to my pace. That didn't stop her from speeding along to pass people though, with me catching up eventually. She's also much bouncier, even after just coming off of a foot injury! I'm a little jealous of her natural speed, but I think it'll come for me with some patience and diligence.

I'm still a little wary of doing too many runs with a partner. For most of my running life, it's been a very solitary activity for me. I started going out to escape the house for little bits at a time, and just have some way to think. I remember very specifically my first non-gym-class run on my own, in high school. Through middle school my first step mother, Debbie, was a big runner, so she and my dad got me some pairs of shorts and sneakers and I'd go out with her for about 10 minutes at a time.

Then, one day in 9th grade my mom was picking me up from school. My sister, then 12, was in the front seat and very unhappy about something or other, so she started kicking things and managed to crack the windshield. That only made my mom yell even more, all the way home. As soon as I got out of the car, I ran up to my room, changed, said, "I'm going for a run!" then left them to their yelling match. That happened a lot in high school, and with my sister and mother filling the house with their fights, it was nice to get out alone and have some quiet save for my own breathing.

In 10th grade I made friends with Christelle, in my gym class, a french girl who looked like a model except for her height. When we discovered we both liked to run, and that we only lived a few blocks apart, we would meet every Monday or Tuesday and head out together. This went on for a few months until one day in December, when I wasn't feeling well and didn't want to go out, but she convinced me to anyway. I wore sweatpants, which I never did (I would wear shorts until it got below 20F back in high school) and a sweatshirt. I also cut the run short (which I also never did) and went straight home instead of detouring up the long, steep hill on McKinley like always.

After I got home, I got a fever and ended up missing nearly a week of school. After I got better Christelle wanted to run with me again. I did a couple times, but it was definitely no longer a regular thing and running again became a mostly solo activity. I've run with other people since then, like my dad and Debbie over thanksgiving weekends (though I much preferred circular routes to the out-and-back Debbie liked to do). Also in 10th grade, I decided to try the spring track team as well, but it was absolutely not for me--something I may get into in a later post.

Anyway, I had more mixed experiences with running partners after that. In 12th grade I ran with my high school boyfriend a few times, until one run in particular when we went on one of his routes, ended up getting lost, and went 7 miles by accident. My knees hurt after that one, since I had never gone more than 5 before and didn't do it on a regular basis. After that I was a little wary of other people's routines again, and it was almost summer anyway, which meant tennis for me.

So for now, running with friends will definitely be an option--it's fun, makes it go by faster, and we get to revel in our accomplishment together. But on days when I'm going to push distance more than usual, like I plan to today, I'm going to go it alone. That way I can really pay attention, take walking breaks when I need to, and go just as fast (slow) as I want.

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