Training and running with friends...it just doesn't get any better than that.
Unless you add two Personal Records for me and my longtime friend and virtual training partner at my new "challenge distance" of half-marathon!
So here's the story...
Short version: She runs her first HM in Nov 2012 to challenge herself, reconnects with old running buddy who throws down new challenge to beat 2:00 TOGETHER. They train together (virtually) for 3 months, then race and PR together. And yes, we beat the goal!
Long version: I've blogged previously about my first Half Marathon, and it still makes me smile as I recall the rush it gave me. When I shamelessly bragged about my accomplishment, my longtime friend and running buddy from 20 years ago contacted me. He is an accomplished runner/triathlete and he informed me that his HM PR was *two seconds* faster than my time and--jokingly--that I was endangering our friendship by threatening to break 2 hours before he did.
There was no answer to that except to challenge him to beat that time WITH me
So we made our plans, chose our race and shared our training trials and tribulations. Along the way, we supported each other, commiserated aches and pains and encouraged the hard work. Like running always does, it brought us together.
On the week before the race, both couples joined together for the event. Lo and behold, we discovered--while attending a fun run with our running group--that his wife was able to run also! This after 3+ years of avoiding running due to a "career ending" injury. So in addition to camraderie, running brings rejuvenation!
Here's me at the warmup...all jitters and doubts:
Lining up with my "local" running buddy...besides running with DH, I am privileged to have TWO buddies who can share HM's with...
The race was tough but we stuck to our plan and ran together to keep each other on-track.
I freaked out 3 times when my Garmin (falsely) indicated I was 30 seconds off our pace, but he calibrated against his watch and kept me from running my legs off. Between 9 and 11 miles I was starting to lose hope but he stuck with me. After mile 12 I could feel the end (although by then I had stopped checking pace or my progress to goal time) but I dug deep and finished strong:
In the process we inspired about 6-8 others to join the race, to amazing result:
* Both of our spouses ran the 5k with their college-age son
* My friend's wife got Age Group first in 5k (the one who "couldn't run")
* Their nephew signed up for the 5k, actually ran 10k to meet his 2013 goal
* Another friend joined to run his first HM
* That friend's two daughters got AG 2nd and 3rd running the 5k
So running inspires and enhances community!
And then there's us:
* My Friend: 1:59:03 (beat previous PR of 2:05:07)
* Me: 1:58:42 (beat previous PR of 2:05:09)
I'm elated, thrilled and grateful to my buddy and to our friends and family who offer encouragement and support along the way. Running is AWESOME!