by Holli Childs
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! It’s 6:00 am and the horrendous beeping of my alarm clock slowly drags me out of a deep sleep. I groan as I see the time and reach for the snooze button. I grumble at myself for setting the alarm for such an obscene hour as I feebly try to dig through my cloudy, sleepy mind as to why I would have done such a thing to myself. Suddenly, it hits me like a ton of bricks . . . Brandon and Jason. If I don’t hurry up and get ready to go, they will be pounding down my door, waking up my roommates. Both being avid and skilled runners, I am not sure why they have taken it upon themselves to run with me, but since they are both genuinely nice guys, they put up with me. They show up at my door as I am dragging on my shorts and slowly lacing up my shoes. We hit the ground running. As I breathe the brisk morning air, I begin to wake up and become more alert. All of a sudden, I am grateful that they are willing to patiently run with me. If they weren’t, I would still be in bed, missing out on this beautiful morning and the amazing colors of the sunrise over the mountains. We run through town, up and around campus, through the neighborhoods, and eventually back towards home. I know that I am slowing them down, because they are talking over my head, and I am just listening to keep my mind off of how exhausted my legs are becoming, and how hard it is to breathe. As several weeks pass, I am able to gradually begin contributing more and more to the conversation, and soon, the runs become more fun.
I can see the progress that I am making. And it is the most satisfying thing of my stressful life at the time.
Brandon and Jason were my first serious running partners.
To this day, I still can’t figure out why they were so patient and persevering when I was so resistant and simply slowed them down. But I am forever grateful to them because they showed me what it is like to have someone who will help you climb over the wall to become someone better than I was the day before.
Since then, I have run with several other buddies. While I enjoy the solitude of a run, and the chance it gives to clear your mind when you are on the road or the trails by yourself, there are many reasons why I value a running buddy.
The first is accountability.
We get each other out of bed in the mornings, or on the trails after work. We push each other a little bit harder. When I have someone who is training for the same event I am, we are able to plan our training schedules and enjoy our long runs together. I will be honest, sometimes I get bored at just the thought of a sixteen mile run, but when I have someone to talk to, it makes the time pass quicker, and I have usually pushed myself just a little bit harder.
Sometimes, all I need is a listening ear.
Having a running buddy who will simply listen and nod while I am unloading my stress both physically and emotionally, goes a long way in dealing with the ups, downs, and changes of life. It is also therapeutic to do the same thing in return for your running buddy.
Even though I am no longer a beginner runner, having a running buddy has helped me with consistency and motivation on those lazy days; or the really cold (or hot) mornings.
In many cases, my running buddies have become my best friends, and we continue to stay in touch and do things together when circumstances allow. They are automatic friends that value physical activity the same way I do, so we can find a myriad of ways to entertain ourselves, including other sports, rock climbing, hiking, and cross country skiing. These friends have saved me from a life of laziness and a career in television watching.
If you find yourself stuck in a rut of television watching, or feeling too lazy for your own good, use those fingers to get online and find local running groups, friends that like to run through social media, or maybe even a coach or personal trainer that will give you the gift of an active healthy life.
It is worth the work and the effort that goes into it. Trust me.