I have decided to dedicate the next few posts to my running buddies, past and present. Each buddy that I will mention has had a significant impact on how I view running and has shaped the runner that I am today. Valuable friendships have arisen from my running experiences and I will never forget the memories shared during runs (especially the painful ones :). I hope to share with my readers the importance of running buddies. I do find enjoyment out of running alone, but the most fun I’ve had running has been shared with others.
Let me take you back about 10 years. I was in Officer Candidate School for the Coast Guard. It was a 4-month officer training program that incorporated both physical and academic training. I was always good at academics, but the physical part was a bit daunting to me. Being yelled at to get up at 4:00 am to jump right out of bed and start doing push-ups wasn’t really my thing. I was surprised though. I always gave it my best even if I wasn’t the best (or if I caused others to be yelled at because I wasn’t able to crank out enough push-ups). Of course, there running was involved. A lot of running. And you were never alone when you ran because you had to run like a herd of cattle trying to move in a straight line while being poked and prodded by the cowboys on the edge. It was really hard for me not to trip over myself or anyone else since I am so graceful (not!). The marching was just a joke. I can’t even count how many times I was yelled at for not staying in unison with everyone else. I guess I should have made it clear that I didn’t have a dancing background.
After about two months we finally had some freedom. During our free time we could actually go for a run on base without the herd. It was then that I found a running buddy. This really sweet, adorable man who was way more fit than I was. Actually, he ended up getting the “most fit” award in our class. But, I have always thrived on challenges so when he asked me to go for a run I said “yes.” Okay, so he must have cut his normal pace in half while I struggled to maintain steady breathing (forget trying to talk). Yet, when he asked again, I said yes again. I knew that he only ran with me because he had the hots for me. That was okay with me. I liked him too.
Needless to say, that man and I got married just a few short months later. We are coming up on 10 years of marriage. I guess you can say that this was a pretty important relationship that I gained through running. He was always a better, faster runner than me… up until 2 years ago. I really took the challenge and ran with it. I spent countless hours planning and training… to beat him, of course. And I did just that during the Jacksonville Gate River Run 15K. During the last 1/2 mile I passed him. Then, a few months later, I passed him during the second half of the 10-mile Pumpkin Run. Yeah baby! Sure, it might never happen a third time, but I won’t admit that it didn’t feel good, especially when I think back to the running days when we first met. I have come a long ways since then!
My husband and I don’t get to run together very often anymore. Since we have 3 kids and different schedules, we usually have to take turns. However, my husband is my biggest supporter and I love him for that. He knows how much running means to me and he will do anything in his power to help me achieve my goals. I couldn’t ask for a better running buddy (or husband :)!