My college friend Janel and I were better known for our music making days before we became runners. Our friendship has lasted through the test of time and circumstances: husbands, children, different cities, and different hobbies. We can go a few months seeing each other every other week, to a few months where we don’t see each other at all.
Like certain runs, some friends are effortless. They don’t need to teach you, test you, challenge you, push you, require of you, distract you, or force you. Some friends, like runs, are perfect in they are there for you whenever you need them.
Janel has always been one of those friends for me. She has never given up on me, when she probably should have. She makes me laugh and inspires me. She is effortless.
Our 12.5 miler on Saturday was a challenging route for me this time of year. I was confident having Janel as a running partner because I figured we could keep up with each other. I wasn’t entirely confident heading into a 18 degree, snow covered, trail run near her home in central Minnesota.
Training has come for most runners considering a Spring marathon. While, I haven’t come out and said I will run a marathon this Spring, I definitely have my eyes on a few different ones. The first few months of a beginner marathon training plan doesn’t take me out of a my comfort zone, so I have started training without signing up for a specific race.
Janel is running the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon, and according to her training plan, she needed to complete a 13 mile long run this weekend. I am a week behind her in training and needed to complete 11 miles.
Her route consisted of two snow covered, hilly loops on a tar bike path. It was very scenic and suburban at the same time. I didn’t feel I was out in the woods but I didn’t feel close to home, either.
Just like our friendship, Janel’s running style is effortless. She never seemed to get winded. She didn’t push the pace and she also never fell behind. She killed every hill swiftly and with strength. The snow was giving us both a little traction trouble. While, it slowed us down a little, it didn’t keep us from running for 2 hours without having to stop.
We talked the entire 12.5 miles. You know, just trying to save the world one conversation at a time. It wasn’t until around mile 10 our talking staggered. We got a strong head wind the last two miles and we both were just trying to push through to finish the run on pace. At that point, I just started blurting stuff out trying to distract from the physical pain. It’s funny how the last two miles felt as long in duration as the first 10 miles of our run. We definitely shouted an encouraging “Whoop, whoop!” when we were feeling tired.
I had to make her pose for the obligatory post-run selfie at the finish. We both hobbled a few yards back to her house before our sweat started to freeze. It had “warmed” up to 18 degrees by the end of our run, but the sun was out and it felt like Spring just had to be on its way.
Afterwards at the house, we stretched out, cleaned up and then headed out for some eats. We decided on Which Wich because I had never been. Of course, no run in the cold is better followed by food and hot coffee. I remember coming in from long runs this Summer and I couldn’t even think about food for an hour.
Overall, the run went very well for me. I’m a little tight after the fact but not injured. I took a yoga class last night and I had no problem completing my 5+ mile run this morning at the gym. The tops of my feet were a little sore.
I thought about the outdoors and Janel as I hammered away on the track. It’s nice to change up the routine and also catch up with a friend. There was also some comfort this morning, on the breezy track, in my shorts and tank top.
Did you take your run to a new place this weekend? Do you enjoy having a running partner?