It’s been a few years since I’ve had a running buddy that I can consistently keep pace with. In fact, since Melissa and I crossed the finish line at the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2008, I haven’t run with anyone else for more than an occasional training run. (Unless you count running with David Wallach for the 2009 Chicago Marathon, but we didn’t train together and you can hardly say he runs at my pace.)
And then the 2011 Girls on the Run spring season began. One of my co-coaches was a girl I went to high school with, but didn’t know too well. We had chatted about GOTR and a few teachery things, but that is about all I know of this girl before spring season began. The more I stalked her blog and the more we chatted, the more we realized we have in common! Including… RUNNING PACE! (Okay, confession: Amy is a little bit faster than me, I think. Or at least way better at holding a consistent pace. But that is a story for another day.)
Amy is training for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon on August 14, so last weekend, we decided to meet up for a long run. Oh, how the miles flew by. I forgot how amazing it is to get so lost in conversation that 3…4…even 5 miles tick by and you have no idea where they went. We instantly decided to have more running dates. Sure, sometimes I might have to go a little farther or she might want to run a little faster. But even for a few miles, it’s nice to have a friend.
Enter Girls on the Run of Northwest Illinois. When I found out that the Nutty 5k/10k/15k in Sycamore this weekend was benefiting them, it seemed like a no-brainer. The 15k fit with my training schedule perfectly. It wasn’t difficult to talk Amy into running with me, as long as we treated it like a training run, not a race. As luck would have it, that was my plan!
Naturally, Coach Amy came over on Friday night so we could decorate tiaras and make inspirational notes a la Operation Beautiful for our shirts. (Well, and because I live closer to the middle of nowhere than she does, so she decided to spend the night.)
And of course, in true blogger form, we laid out all our clothes and took pictures of those too.
As usual, I filled my water bottles and put them in the fridge, and laid out all my gear right by my room. As I was getting ready for bed, I realized my running shoes were sitting by the front door. Oh well. I’ll walk right by them in the morning. I thought. And in the morning, I did exactly that.
We were about 10 minutes away from home when I realized I’d forgotten my shoes and turned the car around.
Eventually, we did make it to Sycamore and manage to get registered for the race. They gave us amazing t-shirts, complete with a squirrel.
And we snapped some photos of our very fashionable ensembles (although apparently before we were decked out in our tiaras.)
This race was wonderful because it allowed me to practice all of my pre-race rituals with no pressure. It was just a training run. We were all smiles, cheering on other runners, and having a blast. We thanked each and every volunteer, practiced our best princess wave at the people who commented on our tiaras, and chatted about life. When I faded a little, I’d notice the note on Amy’s shirt. You can do this. And I kept going. In her best teacher voice, Amy gave directions and kept me on pace. I am absolutely miserable at keeping pace, and Amy is as good as I am bad at it.
This training race reminded me just how powerful positive thinking is during a race. I felt best when we were cheering on the other runners and I wasn’t focusing on myself. It’s amazing how much a little PMA can do!
How do you stay positive during races and training? Do you have a favorite mantra?