It's no secret that I prefer running with friends over going solo, but finding a running buddy with a pace that is the perfect match is a challenge. In all of my years of running, I've never run as well with someone as I have with my original running buddy, Jenny - our strides were the same length, and we'd just naturally fall into step together, which made for good runs. Not effortless - but we were able to stay together, and I know that was a big part of me getting hooked on running.
Unfortunately, running caused Jenny too much foot and leg pain, so she had to stop. And I had to find new running buddies. By that point, I was a member of my running club, so there were quite a few women who I was able to run with - and I've appreciated each and every one of them - way too many to try and name, but if you've been a long-time reader, you've seen me mention them over the years.
Over the last month or so, I've gotten a little slower (the heat and humidity are impacting my pace big time), and it's been even more challenging to run with my friends - not only are they faster than me, but they're taller, and all of that combined for a rough run on Saturday. I know my friends were trying to go slower, and I was trying to go faster, but I was just a bit off of their pace for most of the run and it felt like I spent most of the three miles trying to keep up with them. In reality, I was only a few steps behind, but I was having to put out more effort than usual to stay there, and my brain was going into overdrive - not exactly berating myself for being slow, but trying to get it together and make myself run faster...which wasn't happening. Running is such a fickle thing - here I'd had a great birthday run of 5.2 miles, then two days later I ran 2.5 miles with no doubtful feelings, followed by that Saturday run - blech.
And then, after about 10 minutes of recovery, we hopped in our cars, drove downtown, and had an excellent time at breakfast. We even spotted a farmer's market several blocks away, and once we were finished eating we walked there to check it out. So even with the rougher-than-normal run, the morning ended up being memorable for all the right reasons - time spent with good friends trumps pretty much everything. Sometimes running isn't really about running, after all.