Sarah and Dimity go on and on about the wonders of having a Best Running Friend. And, yeah sure, I’m happy for them to have someone they can routinely log miles with in person. Here’s a little secret: it’s OK if you don’t have one. Or, in my case, if you really don’t want one.
It’s heresy but I stand by it.
See — I like running solo. It’s one of the few times in the day when I get to not engage with humans of any kind. My inner introvert needs the quiet miles to recharge, sometimes with a podcast or, you know, just with blessed quiet.
Circumstances forced me to figure this out. I live in a small town, which does have runners in it but who aren’t really organized in any meaningful way. I am also slower than average — I know that the party at the race is always in the back — but that means it’s hard to find a runner who shares my pace. My work schedule is, at best, weird AF and it’s hard to find a BRF whose life is weird in a compatible way.
So running alone started as a necessity. But now, ten years into this whole “I think I’ll try a jog” thing, I crave the solitude as much as the sweat.
With all of that being said, I would be nowhere without my Galentines.
Rather than stick to one BRF, I have a dozen and a half of them who I nearly never run with. But thanks to modern technology, we are able to share all of the grousing and cheering that the best long run brings out in BAMRs.
Most of my Galentines fell into my life because of AMR. There’s a group of us who met at the first AMR Retreat in Little Rock (oh, those candied nuts!) in 2015. We dug hanging out so much that we met up the next year in Austin, Texas. Years later, that text chain is still going, even thought the races have been thin on the ground lately. BAMRs have moved in and out of touch. We expand and contract accordingly, like a beating heart. There have been joys and sorrows and TMI and cross-country moves. Kids have grown up and left the nest. Marriages have crumbled and new loves have bloomed. Even though we are in different time zones, each of us knows that support is only a text away.
My other group o’ Galentines grew from Seneca 7, a team relay-race around Seneca Lake in Central New York. Four years ago, I drafted a team of BAMRS — chosen not for speed but for moxie — to do something silly in the late winter slush. Then we did it again the next year. And planned to do it the next but COVID made other plans. So we embraced technology and jumped on Marco Polo, an app where you can record video snippets and share them with the group.
No, it’s not quite the same as eating apple chips in a stinky van. Still, it’s as close to a conversation as we can get in the other 363 days we’re not together. Plus you can let the videos pile up and listen to them one a long run. It’s a million times better than having to meet up and match pace with an actual human. To me, anyway.
The “to me” is the important part: these are my Galentines. I am thankful for them in my life. But I imagine you have your Galentines, too. Maybe take a moment on February 13 to honor those women who will always have your back, whether its on the trails, sidewalks, or in your phone. If you can, meet for a frittata and some waffles. If you can’t shout ‘em out in the comments and let them know how wonderful it is to have them in your life.
Galentine’s Day brunch already planned for Sunday morning and can’t wait and I totally understand and get you need to run solo! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!
My Galentines are the members of the Pioneer Valley Women’s Running Club in western Massachusetts. I am grateful for them every single day!
Love the way you nail feelings with such honesty and humor! My BRF has willingly become my best walking friend (BWF) and I look forward to the more leisurely pace! The idea of sharing Galentine brunch is the best!
I dream of those candied nuts (not code)! I, too, love my quiet alone time but also love a chatty run where the miles easily click away and there’s never a loss of something to chat about. Sadly, I moved away from some of my BRFs and am currently injured so races have been canceled for now. Looking forward to the day I’ll be able to run again and in the meantime, I’ll virtually cheers on my gals!
I have unexpectedly found some amazing galentines on Strava. That platform has become more than a place for me to log workouts. I love watching BAMRs run, walk, move all the work with grace and smiles.