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Long (and quite emotional) story short: A few years ago, I was living in the Bay Area, got divorced, moved back home to Utah, was completely devastated and had been a completely solo (except for rare occasions) runner my entire running history. I don’t know how in the world the stars aligned and I somehow got talked into joining a group of girls for a run just a few weeks after I left California, but it happened (even though I was completely intimidated going into the situation). I mean, what if I was slower than the others or had to stop to tie my shoes or needed a drink break when they didn’t? Within the first few miles, I realized that nobody really cared about those things and everyone was happy to accommodate the other runners’ needs.
Some sort of crazy bond formed pretty much instantaneously. I am pretty sure we all shared our life stories, deepest desires, disappointments and dreams within a matter of 55 miles together over the course of a week or two. This particular group of girls didn’t have a ton in common normally—we were all different ages, had quite different life experiences and had all sorts of different roles after we took off our running shoes each day—but we had running and that brought us together. And this is when my love for running with others began.
I open up to people more than ever when I am running with them. There is something about the run that brings me even closer to that person next to me. The time we spend together and the conversations that we have in the early morning hours when everyone else is asleep bonds us together. We are out there accomplishing something hard and that just naturally seems to bring us closer to one another.
There was a time during a track workout with Josse and Rachelle that we dedicated each 200-meter interval to somebody in our life that changed us; that inspired us. We were all crying by the end and I had never felt closer to them.
There have been countless runs with my best running friends when we talk about self-esteem, body image, weight and all of the pressure that we feel to look a certain way.
There have been runs with different boyfriends over the years where I finally opened up about my past when at any other time I struggled letting them into what was really going on in my head.
There are the conversations about races and the ups and downs of training. The failures, the successes and everything in between. We share our running goals with one another that we wouldn’t dare tell anyone else.
While out running with friends, there are conversations that help me to figure myself out a bit. That make me realize my potential and reignite that drive in me to do whatever it takes to get to where I want to be.
There are always those runs sprinkled in where we get each other laughing so hard we have to stop and take a break for a minute. Sometimes we giggle like we are teenagers again over extremely immature things.
My dearest running partners over the last few years, thank you for being my early morning therapists, for getting me out on the roads on the especially dark times of life, for sweating together and being each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Just one more reason that I think our sport is the greatest: we can build such incredible relationships while out on our runs with those crazy people that love running as much as we do.
While I’m not able to run with my running partners as much as I used to, when we are able to get together within just a few strides I am reminded my favorite type of runs are the ones with my peeps.