2015 was the year that I “came out” as a runner. Late in the preceding year I cut my teeth on a couple of races which formed the foundation for my running addiction. My 2015 racing season started on January 1 with the 5k Resolution Run, followed by various races of various distances over the next several months, including my first HM in February.
I think 21k is my favorite distance. It is a challenge but it is achievable. I wanted to do another Half Marathon but am not a fan of running in summer so I decided to do a Fall HM. There were a few choices but I settled on the PEI Marathon for a number of reasons. First, I love PEI. Secondly the date worked for me. And thirdly, some of my running friends were going to do the 10k and I was invited to travel with them. And last but not least, a high school friend was also doing it. We had not seen each other since 1979 but a couple of years ago we connected via Facebook. When I found out that she was doing this race I knew that I had to do it too. I was looking forward to seeing her and we made plans to meet at the Start Line.
On the morning of the race the weather was cool with drizzling rain. Yuck! I met June in the lobby of her hotel for a joyous reunion and then we eventually wandered outside to the Start Line. The rain had mostly stopped and the weather was perfect for running.
I had planned to run my own race but we ended up running the whole distance together. We used the 21k to catch up on the past 36 years. We deliberately kept our pace slow at the beginning so we could finish strong. We hydrated, we fueled and we took walking breaks. And we talked and giggled. The distance flew by and before you knew it we had run 20k. We whooped and hollered that final kilometer. It was a an incredible experience to share with an old friend.
Since then I have given serious thought to running with someone versus running solo. Prior to the race I ran with someone only during Group Runs but always ran Races alone. I am still learning about this thing called Running and this race taught me a lesson about sharing the experience with a friend. Sometimes it is not about finishing faster than your previous time. Sometimes it is about connecting with a friend along the way.