A few months ago I started an official half marathon training plan with one of the girls that I helped to get started in the sport last year. I'm so proud of her hard work and dedication, she has come so far in such a quick amount of time. We started as strangers, just someone joining my running group, but have quickly become friends, and more importantly running partners. It's odd for me, as I've really been a solo runner for the last 5 years. While I love going to races with my friends, and meeting new people out on a trail, I've always trained alone. But I've really gotten to the point where I love having a running partner.
There's a sacred bond between running partners. What's said on the run stays on the run. Running partners share weird running-only saddnesses, like "they don't make cute Brooks sneakers in my size!", every day worries, like "my kids are driving me batty" and a lot of really sick happiness that only your fellow running partner would get, "That was an INCREDIBLE nine miles! I have a high!" and "WhooHoo! That porta potty had HAND SANITIZER!"
What's been most enlightening to me is the fact that having a running partner has made me a better runner. I feel a sense of commitment to her. There have been days I didn't feel like running, that in the past I would have wimped out. But when I've committed to her, I suck it up and go. IIn some ways I'm her "coach" and that I am responsible for seeing her through to this half-marathon. So when I'm out on a run and I really feel like quitting, I dig down deeper and keep running. I have to be the example, the motivator, the cheerleader.
Right now, my running partner and I are in a bit of a rut. We've been running the same course, just extending our distance, for a while. We're stressed about kid stuff. We're tired. My joint pain has been increasing. It's still hot. So the last few runs haven't been very awesome. Typically I'd take a week off and "forgettabout it." Which means....get completely off the training plan and "wing" my upcoming half marathons. But because I am responsible for my running partner earning her medal in December for finishing her first half, I'm not going to quit. I'm going to make modifications and accommodations and get us out of this rut! It's time for some field trip runs, some new music, and maybe some new, sassy socks. There's no giving up now!