Saturday, March 7, 2009

Running Partners

I am what my friends affectionately refers to as a "Running Whore." I know, I know, it's not nice. As a matter of fact, it actually sounds quite mean but I assure you, if you know my friends, it is not. There is really not much I can say back to him when he says this because in all honesty, it is the truth.

"Hello. My name is Rebecca and I have a problem. I will run with anyone, at any time of day, and pretty much anywhere."

This is one of the big things I notice can be quite different between men and women when it comes to running. Women will run with just about anyone they can at any time of day. I know exactly who to call if I need to start at 4 am and who will sweat it out in the sun at lunch and who will force me to do it later in the evening. I know who to call when I need a speedwork session and who will do the hills and even who will go run next to me on the treadmill. Women will also compromise and make sacrifices in order to run with their friends, something men do not generally do.

I think it begins with the fact that women really "shouldn't run alone." While it is perfectly acceptable for a man to run at some ungodly hour all by his lonesome, us being the fairer, more delicate, and generally less hairy sex makes us a bit more desireable to the meanies of the world. At least once a week, I leave Brian behind and me and the dog, Sophie, go meet the girls for some Girl Running. I love this time because Girl Running rarely has an agenda. We have really no pace in mind, we can stop and stretch or use the bushes as needed, we rarely have anyone in the group who farts or blows snot-rockets, and we talk non-stop the whole time. Yes, the WHOLE TIME. We've laughed, we've cried, we've shared secrets and heartaches and stories and memories and scandals... and we've done all this before 6 am! Such multi-taskers, us women! This is nothing like when men run (or ride) together where the testosterone begins flowing before their heart rate evens gets elevated and the whole effort is 100% and they talk about how easy it is and pound their chests and finally come home and whine the rest of the day about how bad they hurt. You know what I am talking about, I know you do.

I have some of the best running partners a girl could ever want. I love each of them dearly and they have saved me from myself more time than they will ever know. I remember the morning after I found out my baby was dying, my friend Betsy met me at some ungodly hour (5 am, I think) in 40* weather to go biking. It could have possibly been the worst workout ever, EVER I tell you! But, never once did Betsy or the others even speak of turning around. It wasn't an option. They knew better than me that just as the cold was numbing my fingers and toes, the ride was numbing my brain and giving me the freedom to let my mind be still, just for a moment. I will never forget that ride. Had I been in a good frame of mind, I would have been the first to suggest we just go back and get pancakes. But that day, I needed to ride. And my friends suffered so I could. I have really really good friends.

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