running with a buddy

This post is LONG overdue, and for that I apologize. Things should be calming down around here, soon, and then I’m sure my posts will be more regular and consistent.

For a long time, I’ve resisted running with a buddy or a group. My reasons (and excuses) have been endless, and I’ve leaned hard on the idea that times don’t generally work out for me. And while sometimes, scheduling may be a factor, the real reasons are far more emotional. The truth is I’m embarrassed. Intimidated. Self-conscious. Afraid.

So there it is.

There are more than a few running groups around here, both serious and casual, groups with memberships and team shirts, groups hosted by local running stores and groups among friends. I’ve shied away from all of them. There was a little voice inside me that told me I didn’t belong. That those groups weren’t for me.

I have to learn to shut that voice down.

At the RunJax 5K, I ran with a friend. It was the first time I had ever actually raced side-by-side with someone, on purpose, for the entire duration of a run. I was really apprehensive about it, because I hate the idea that I might hold someone back or keep someone from reaching their goals, but she insisted that I would do neither and we crossed the start and the finish together.

I didn’t expect that I would take to the experience, but I did. It seemed like I pushed a little harder and held on a little longer. Granted, it was just 3.1 miles, but it was nice to have someone with whom I could chat, and the conversation and banter certainly helped the minutes pass more quickly.

It made me realize that my fear of group running was all in my head and maybe holding me back.

An opportunity to make a change came a few weeks ago, when a new chapter of a moms’ running group started up. The ladies had been discussing a group run for a while, and it was pretty challenging to figure out a time that would work for everyone. I declined several requests, and then one day, the admin of the group asked if anyone wanted to meet up on a weekend morning for a sunrise run.

We had no plans, no obligations, and before that little voice could tell me “no”, I responded with a “yes.”

And then promptly broke into a cold sweat. Because what on earth was I doing?

The appointed day came and I was up earlier than necessary, my sleep interrupted by my nerves. I packed my things, and hopped in the car, heading for the meeting point. A few times on the way, I thought about backing out and going for a run on my own. But then I felt really badly about flaking, so I put those thoughts right out of my mind.

I was pleased to note that the weather was finally starting to behave like fall.

I stopped at an open shop to grab a bottle of water and use the restroom, then continued on to our meeting spot. When I laced up my shoes, I realized that I had left my Garmin still plugged into the charger on the counter at home. Who does that?

I paced while I was waiting, to keep myself relatively warm. It was a full 20 degrees cooler than I was used to and it was a shock to the system. It wasn’t long before B found me, and we introduced ourselves.

B said she hadn’t run in a while and was totally fine going 3 miles with a 2:30/1:00 interval. I had to download a quick interval app  to help us keep time. We decided on a route along the water, turning around when the sidewalks got bad, and opting for an out and back in the opposite direction.

It was nice. We were able to keep up a somewhat normal conversation, without too much wheezing and gasping for air.

My running partner even wanted to stop for pictures of the waterfront.

Obviously, this was working out just fine.

I can’t say my fear isn’t 100% gone, but I enjoyed myself and I want to make it a more regular thing. We haven’t had a chance to set up another run, but now that my most recent half is completed, I think we can work on scheduling something.

Do you have a regular running buddy or are you part of a running group?

How do you overcome any doubts you may have about your abilities?


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20 Responses to running with a buddy

  1. Darlene says:

    Definitely is hard to find a compatible running partner. I haven’t found one yet. So I usually run alone and have company in races. But even if I know someone in a race, I have never run the whole thing with her.
    Darlene recently posted…Training or Not Training to be a Perfect 10My Profile

  2. I love running with friends! Most of the time. I think it’s nice to do some with friends and some solo. I’ve run some races where we all stay together and others where we spread out. I like both as long as we discuss before the start what the etiquette will be that day. Nothing worse than getting left in the dust when you didn’t expect to be!
    Good conversation definitely makes the miles pass quickly. Or sometimes bad conversation too… I can’t tell you how many bathroom discussions I’ve had with fellow runners 😉 I used to meet up twice a week with three local friends to run before work, and I really loved it! Unfortunately two have moved away and the remaining two of us have been total slackers. My horse show season is coming to an end though, so hopefully I can stop making excuses and get back at it!
    I can’t wait to read about your next group run!
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…Truthful Tuesday: Tantrum EditionMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Oh, yes. Discussing how the race is going to be handled is definitely important. I can see that causing a lot of hurt feeling.

      And I can see conversation definitely helping. I struggle to walk and talk (or at least, I think I do), but it would be nice to have a buddy.

      I’m sure having some more free time will help you get back into your groove.
      runswithpugs recently posted…running with a buddyMy Profile

  3. Kathy Bruinooge says:

    I have the same exact fear, that I’m not good enough, but I did it once with someone and guy even, and he was very gracious and ran with me for my first 6 miler. It was great, now we are doing that half on Nov 8. good job, keep at it…

  4. Melanie says:

    I have running buddy for my long weekend runs. I would love to join a local running group but have the same fears as you. I run 3:1 intervals and feel like I am just not fast enough to run with others.

  5. This. Post.
    Made me so happy!!!!!
    Yey, yey, yey. yey, yey! There is nothing like the joy of running with others!
    Let’s face it, before each of us solo runners run with someone else for the first time, we all feel those exact same feelings. Heck, I still do thanks to my GI issues, but then we do it and never look back! (Even if I do run mostly solo these days :))
    Anne @ recently posted…Waxing PoeticMy Profile

  6. jan says:

    I run w/ at least one buddy about 80% of the time. I have 5-6 people that I run with on a regular basis. I was really nervous at first. I started out running w/ people who I knew were slower than me. Now, I’m willing to push myself a bit and try to hang w/ faster people. I love running w/ friends. Nothing is embarrassing while running…it’s all happened (not all to me)–peeing in the ditch, pooping in the cornfield, stopping at various potties (very very common), not feeling well, getting hurt, getting lost, being harrassed…even the embarrassing stuff is better w/ friends.
    jan recently posted…Teaching Students to Write their First Narrative EssayMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      That’s awesome that you’ve found such great group. Problem for me is that it’s tough finding people who are slower :/ Of course, I’m working on getting faster, but I seem to be epically failing at that, so maybe this is where I’m meant to be.

      Pooping in a cornfield? Oh, yes. That’s a story I need to here.
      runswithpugs recently posted…running with a buddyMy Profile

  7. I went years without ever running with a friend. During a race, I might chat up someone that I happened to be running alongside, but, really running was a solitary sport for me. But, in the height of summer, I ended up with an “unexpected vacation” between work projects — three weeks, where I was paid, but did not have a job.

    I have a local friend – we met at the gym, and we chat via text, daily . . . she’s a better runner than I am. She runs further than I do, at a faster pace (but I do one-arm push-ups, and she struggles with regular push-ups, so we kind of admire each other for each other’s exercise routines). Anyway, she talked me into trail running with her . . . mainly, she preferred running on trails to running on the road, and, well, it’s a bad bad idea to trail run by oneself, just in case something happens.

    Turns out that, when I run with a faster runner, I run faster . . . and, since trail running is so technical, the paces kind-of figured themselves out. I don’t know if I’d run, regularly, on the road with others . . . I like getting lost in my audiobooks, I’ll admit it — but, trail running with a friend will be a regular part of my training, when time affords.

    • runswithpugs says:

      Hmm. I should look into downloading some audio books. I feel like I would have a hard time with them because I love reading so much, but maybe it would make the miles pass faster? And I could technically get in even more “reading.” Something to think about, for sure.

      Yeah, definitely a bad idea to run trails alone. 🙂

      I definitely see running as a more solitary thing, but I also depend on the community so much (and I don’t think I’m alone on that), so I think my perspective needs a little shift.
      runswithpugs recently posted…running with a buddyMy Profile

  8. Angie says:

    I have only run with my husband, but it seemed to work for me. I was able to push myself and have someone there to tell my mind to shut up when I wanted to stop. I have thought about going for the weekly runs at the running stores, but, like you, I feel self conscious and scared. I may try it one day just for a change.
    Angie recently posted…32 secondsMy Profile

  9. Matilda says:

    Our running season has ended 🙁 which is such a bummer, because running with others is so motivating. I find it helps me to get faster.
    I also love the social side of it. Don’t get me wrong I was always scared about joining a running club, but it was the best thing I did that’s for sure.
    Matilda recently posted…High Five Friday #4My Profile

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