This weekend, I’m running a half-marathon. (A full requires more training than I’m willing to commit to.) It’ll be my second: I ran the same half-marathon (although different sponsor) last year. Both times, I’ve run with my running buddy of several years, Sarah.
We started training in January. During a long run a couple weekends ago, Sarah mentioned how pleasantly surprised she was that I had gone ahead with training for the half after getting Teddy. Over the holidays, she had purposely not mentioned starting weekend long runs in the new year because she figured I’d be too tired/too busy/no longer interested/unable to commit to weekly runs. She said she wouldn’t have minded. She might not have continued herself, and she’d decided it wouldn’t be a huge loss to forfeit the registration fee. So when I emailed her about when we’d go for our first long training run and how far we were supposed to run, she was a bit taken aback but eagerly joined me in making plans.
Honestly, it never occurred to me to not train for and run the race. For one thing, we’ve been running together since we started training for our first race four years ago, the Race for Hope, a 5k that supports brain tumor research. A running friend was keen to teach a bunch of us how fun running can be. To motivate us to get started, she suggested we (six of us) train for a race. Sarah’s friend and co-worker is a brain cancer survivor and runs the Race for Hope 5k every year, so Sarah suggested we register for that one. Ever since then, Sarah and I run together almost every Tuesday morning (same route every week–we never tire of running on the Mall). And during training seasons, we do long runs together every weekend. Occasionally other friends will join us, but the majority of the time, it’s just us.
Also, I don’t really have any excuse not to train. Tuesday mornings, we run before Mike gets up; weekends, Mike considers my running time his Teddy time; and for my second run during the week (for the record, this is why I could never run a full marathon–I can’t seem to regularly fit an essential fourth run into my week), I have the BOB, a baby shower gift from the five ladies in our original training group. (This thing is awesome, by the way. I recommend it for any runner moms.)
Finally, running has become more essential for me since we got Teddy. He’s a super low-maintenance baby, so it’s not that I need a break from him, per se. But it is nice to get out of the house. And my weekend and Tuesday morning runs provide some of that precious me-time that so many SAHMs crave. I’ve actually stopped bringing my ipod with me on runs because I use the time to think and pray–and chat with my running buddy! And of course getting those endorphins pumping is never a bad thing.
The thing is, even things that you know are good for you–and that you know you’ll enjoy doing–are sometimes (read: often) hard to get out and do. Which is why races are key. If I wasn’t registered for a race, if I didn’t have an on-the-calendar, paid-for reason to get out there, I’d likely not.
So my response to my running buddy? What race are we doing next?