Sunday, May 24, 2015

Running with Friends

In my going-on-four-years of Running away from Trouble, I've learned that running friends can not only help you run away from trouble, but they also can keep you out of trouble in the first place.

I started my running journey with the Towpath Turtles, a group dedicated to preparing new runners to run the Akron Half Marathon.  From them, I learned how to pace myself so I could run farther than two miles at a time.  With their gentle encouragement, and with the sometimes not-so-gentle-encouragement of our coach, Sheila, I ran my first half marathon in September 2012.  Read about my time as a Turtle here.

The Towpath Turtles at the Lyndhurst Perfect 10-Miler in 2012
I graduated from running with the Turtles to running any time and distance I liked with fellow members of The Ohio Runner's Network.  Through the years, I have come to depend on these Peeps for my Sunday long, slow distance runs and for camaraderie in races.  These are just a few of the many memory shots I have with my TORN Peeps:

Shelby, Me, and Jen, looking into the sunlight

TORN runners at the 2014 Tryptophan Run 

Towpath Turtles at the 2013 Mother's Day 5k

Heather and I run the 2015 Shamrock.
Renee and I are trail running!

Joy and I are warming up before the 2015 Canton Gold Jacket 5k.
Shelby and I set a goal for the half marathon.

TORN at 2014 Lyndhurst Perfect 10-Miler

TORN at 2014 Medina Half Marathon
Bay Days 2014

I'll tell you a little secret, and you may find it shocking: I don't really like people much.  Wait, why are you laughing?

I think it's because I spent sixteen years in the food service industry, which I was really good at, but it REALLY made me hate people.  Oddly enough, I love my job, which is teaching teenagers.  Teens are awesome; at any moment your average sixteen year old is feeling more hormonal than I am on my worst day.  I'm not being ironic when I say I really enjoy working with teenagers, their drama, their sincerity, their craziness; however, because of the amount of energy I spend at work, it takes a conscious effort for me to make sure I don't have Resting Bitch Face when I am around people.  I decided a long time ago that I didn't need new friends; I'm just fine with the friends who have decided to stick with me.

Until now.

As a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador, I was able to connect with other bloggers/runners who were so different from me (and from each other) and yet so familiar.  I have been following their blogs for almost a year now (some longer than that), and we all got to know each other through our writing and later in person.  What I found was an additional support group, something I didn't know I needed or wanted.

Each Ambassador has an interesting story to share, and I enjoyed meeting them in person after reading all about them.  When my performance in the half marathon was disappointing at best, especially when I compared my results to their fabulous PR's, the group seemed to know what to say and what to post to make me feel less angry and sulky.  I think the funniest post in our Facebook group was from Andrew (@andrewrunsalot), who posted a race pic of himself in genuine agony and invited us to caption it.

At our first meet-up
Start of the race

VIP reception

 It turns out that I can still meet new friends, and these friends have so much to teach me.  I look forward to following them in their pursuit of their goals, and I look forward to future races and meet-ups together.  Thank you, Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, for giving me this opportunity!

To my "old" friends: Thank you for sticking by me, even when I insist on running alone.  To my "new" friends:  Thank you for being so positive and such great role models for me.  This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

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