I spoke on the phone with a college friend last week after a few months of being out the loop with each other. She talked about her upcoming wedding and the planning involved, and I talked about running, of course. When I told her I was marathon training she asked, “So, you run all those miles…by youself?!”. When questions about running or training alone gets brought up like this, I assume someone is trying to ask something like, “Isn’t it lonely? Don’t you get bored? How can you keep going?”.
Even though I have been marathon training on my own for the last 8 weeks, I am very far from being alone.
I have the biggest support team any runner, mother, woman, or person, could ask for. If you could see the support I have when I am running, I would have 5 pairs of hands resting on my shoulders to encourage me. I would have 5 pairs of hands at my back pushing me to keep going. I would have another 5 pairs of hands holding my head to keep me focused and grounded. I would have 5 pairs of arms wrapped around me because I am loved.
If you could hear the support I have when running, you would hear the hour long conversation I had with my dad that afternoon about proper fueling. You would hear the encouraging words of my family on Tuesdays when I word vomit about running for 3 hours straight. You would hear every, “Go MB!”, “Run Safe!”, “Have a nice run!”.
If you could feel how supported I am when running, you would feel like we are running together.
I’ve learned a lot over the last few years about running and very little of it came from online articles, magazines or books. I rely on so many others’ experiences to help learn more about my own body and what it can do. There is an art to running through a Minnesota Winter. There is a life experience knowledge coming from my mother-in-law who runs up to 6 days a week. As a multi-marathoner, there is a confidence behind my husband’s belief in certain training plans.
Running wouldn’t be as much fun if I couldn’t have hour long text-fests with my cousin about each other’s running and fitness goals. Running wouldn’t be as much fun if I didn’t have my brother to kill some 8 milers with and then celebrate with food. Running wouldn’t be as much fun if I didn’t have all these people around me to help realize how awesome I can be, if I choose to be it.
Someday, I might get to run with my kids. I fantasize about the runs we could have together, if they chose to run with me. I also think about the runs they could chose to do on their own. Even though I am not there to run with them, I am there supporting them, encouraging them, and loving them for everything they are.
Running helped me realize I don’t have to take on my battles alone. My family and friends are there for me because they love me and I deserve to have their support. The team that cheers me on when I am running also cheers me on when I do other things. I strive to be this kind of encouragement for those I love in my life.
If you could see the support when I am running, you would see I am not alone! While running can be an individualized sport, I embrace the community we are at any level or place in our lives we are running in.
What would I “see” if I saw you running? Do you thrive in the support of your family, friends, and running community?