Sometimes I consider myself very social (closing in on 1,000-friend mark on Facebook!), yet other times I’m a hermitic writer, content being solo all workday long. Same goes with running: Except for occasional runs with my Hood to Coast teammates or rowing buddies, I’m a solo runner. I don’t need to tell any of you: It’s tough to find someone who runs roughly your same pace at the same time of day. Oh, yeah, and someone you actually like. Before getting pregnant with the twins in 2004, I ran once a week with a dear friend named Ellison. But while I was PG, Ellison found Monica, who lived right around the corner from her. They proceeded to marathon train together, including qualifying for Boston several times. Ellison still jokes she feels like she broke up with me to take up with Monica. (Sniff, sniff.)
Pity-party is over, though: I’ve recently found several new friends to run with, making me feel almost like head cheerleader at prom time. (Hmm, maybe I’ve been watching too many eps of “Glee”?!) A few months ago I started running with Heidi, the mother of one of the twins’ best buds. She’s a 5-minute run away, and usually game for whatever route and pace I want to run, unless her legs are fried from long bike rides. Most weeks we head out on an hour-long run before we have to get our respective kids mobilized for school.
Then last Friday I had a first-run date with Sheila, who I met at a RLAM event at Portland’s Lululemon store. Like a cute-but-sensitive guy who actually listens, Sheila is almost too good to be true: She’s also training for the Portland Marathon, and her personal best is only a minute faster than mine. While it takes about 15 minutes to run from my house to hers, the track is equidistant from our digs. As on my runs with Heidi, I was reminded on Friday morning why a running partner is so awesome: We blinked, and we’d covered four miles.
My only complaint: It’s tough to accommodate running dates into marathon training. Heidi’s usually flexible about when our easy run is, and I’m hoping the distances of Sheila’s long runs mesh with mine. But as much as Ellison and I try to coordinate our schedules, it just doesn’t work: She runs long on Sunday, whereas I go double-digits on Saturday. My track day is her rest day. My easy day is her tempo day. Oy! And neither one of us will budge on changing our training schedule, despite missing each other’s company. ( E, you miss me, right?!? Tell me you miss me!!)
As I’ve been writing this post, a favorite song at our kids’ preschool keeps running through my head: “Make new friends/but keep the old/one is silver/and the other’s gold.” These days, I’m feeling all my running friends are true gold.