ANOTHER
MOTHER RUNNER

Letting My Best Running Friend Take the Lead

Molly (right) and me after the scorching-hot Bridge of the Gods half-marathon last August.
Two hot badass mother runners: Molly (right) and me after the scorching-hot Bridge of the Gods half-marathon last summer.

Last summer, my best running friend (BRF), Molly, and I saw the musical, "The Book of Mormon"; we guffawed, grimaced, and gasped together the entire show. One song in the first act, in particular, struck us both: "You and Me (But Mostly Me)." Walking outside during intermission, Molly and I wiped away tears of laughter and quickly honed in on the toe-tapping song, in which the charismatic, headstrong missionary, Kevin, brags about he's destined for greatness, while his bumbling, self-sabotaging sidekick, Arnold, will stand next to him and watch. At almost exactly the same time, Molly and I each blurt out, "just like us!" We shared a hearty laugh before heading back into the theatre.

I'm not charismatic, and Molly isn't bumbling, but there was a a good-size nugget of truth to the notion I'm the dominant one in our (running) relationship. More often than not, I'm the one who suggests the route we'll take or sets the time we run. Last fall, when we were both training for Victoria Marathon, we followed my training plan, covering my appointed mileage and aimed for my prescribed pace.

The incredibly adorable coin purse Molly sewed and embroidered for me for Christmas.
The incredibly adorable coin purse Molly sewed and embroidered for me for Christmas.

I like to think I'm not bossy--I just know what I want and ask for it. In the mid-1990s, I worked at a magazine with a woman named Alice, who became a good friend. We often went out for gab-filled lunches or window-shopping jaunts. Alice deemed me a, "directosaurus," explaining she could shut off her brain on our outings because she knew I'd "direct" where we walked. So let's just say I often fill the same roll with Molly, just at a faster pace.

But not this year. As you might have seen in my "This year I will..." proclamation on our site last week, Molly is training for an April 12 marathon while I don't have any goal races on my horizon. I'm vowing to let Molly be in charge on our runs. While she's following the Marathon: Own It plan from Train Like a Mother, I didn't even strong-arm her into that decision. Instead, she perused a variety of training plans, then found her own way to one of our plans on TrainingPeaks.

The present Molly bestowed on me Christmas 2013: a handmade bookmark of us bunnies at the track (we run in lane 5). It's honestly one of the greatest gifts I've ever received.
The present Molly bestowed on me Christmas 2013: a handmade bookmark of us bunnies at the track (we run in lane 5). It's honestly one of the greatest gifts I've ever received.

Now, instead of me piping up, it's Molly announcing at the end of our runs, "okay, tomorrow we only have to do 4 easy miles; let's meet at 6:15." Or dictating this weekend's long run will be 13 miles with a 15-minute strong finish.

And, let me tell you: This directosaurus is diggin' it! I adore training for marathons, but don't often love running ones, so this set-up is ideal. I get to put in the miles, but I don't have to bust a big 26.2-mile move in four months. I get the same auto-pilot, no-second-guessing feeling from being on a training plan with no angst if I opt to walk up a big hill or scale back a long run due to travel (which I'll be doing a lot of this March and April with our Tales from Another Mother Runner tour!).

But, most importantly--and proving we're not exactly like "The Book of Mormon" song--it feels good to shift the spotlight from me to Molly. I'm excited to be embarking on this journey, with Molly leading the way.

How about you, mother runner: If you have a BRF (or a group of running buddies), who determines the route or mileage? 

5 responses to “Letting My Best Running Friend Take the Lead

  1. Funny, my BRF are in a very similar spot this year… well we’ve alternated “hers” vs “my” marathons over the last 3, and since the last one was “mine” (and she ran me into a BQ), the next one is “hers” and we’re running a spring race in hopes of running her to a BQ! I also am not too good at giving up the reigns, but am doing my best to embrace it this cycle!

  2. normally I am the over planner who needs all the details planned out, everything printed and nicely tucked into my trip binder. but this year and last year I have left the planning for the SF Hot Chocolate to a friend. I know she is as on top of her game as I am so it is nice to let go and just “show up” for the race. I don’t even read the race emails! ♥

  3. No surprise I am the Directosauras! I naturally fell into the role since I am always the one running races. The crew follows my lead. I have to admit, it is very nice getting reprieve from Directosauras and letting someone else call the shots.

  4. I suppose me and my BRF have pretty equal contributions. We usually run closer to her house, so she plans the routes for the most part. I usually make the schedule and give her a heads up as to what we need to do. We sometimes train with a group and sometimes just the two of us, but support each other either way. She is putting in the training miles with me for Boston in April and she is not even running it! Now that is a great BRF!

  5. First off, so special that you have a friend like Molly. I actually remember meeting her (I think) at one of the races at the Hillsboro stadium…Hippie Chick maybe. You were working a booth. How special for you to be training with her and experience this together. Honestly, I don’t have a Best Running Friend that I train with regularly. I mostly run alone. But, I have a friend Marci who lets me decide the pace and routes we run but now that she is training again (she’s a 2:35 marathoner..I can’t imagine!), we really don’t run together very often unless it is a really really easy recovery day for her. ha! So, I’d say that’s the closest I get to a BRF…Marci. She’s a good one too…always good conversation. And she’s one of the most humble and kind people I know. Even when our pace leaves me huffing and puffing and she is feeling like she’s barely moving, she never lets on and keeps asking me to run again. What a gem!

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