When you spend upwards of two to three hours with people moving on your feet, you have a lot of time to talk. About everything.
Like last Saturday’s long run, for example. As I headed out among the faster crew for our 10-mile run, the conversation began with my discovery that father-daughter dances are still a thing. I could have sworn political correctness killed them just a few years after my own dances with my dad years ago.
From there, the conversation evolved to the movie Frozen, which happened to be the theme of the father-daughter dance in discussion. It seems every little girl under the age of 10 knows all the words, and I’m one of the few people who have still failed to watch this film.
Then things got interesting, and valuable life lessons learned. Apparently, making a baby registry is harder than making a baby. Who knew? As those of us running down the 16th Street hill learned, having a baby these days means buying lots of things that never existed in our childhoods. And a lot of those things are oddly named, have some type of Bluetooth technology, cost a bagillion dollars, and/or all of the above.
Since I couldn’t relate to any of the baby talk, I felt relieved when the discussion switched over to the most common question of long runs, “What are you doing this weekend?” aka, “What are you doing after you eat a giant post-run breakfast and take a long nap?”. With the Super Bowl last Sunday, most everyone’s plans involved sitting in front of a TV and watching what turned out to be an epic, nerve-wracking game of football.
Conversation evolved into talk of “ballghazi,” wedding dresses, Anthropology sweaters, and coffee. If you attempted to diagram what the exchnages during the run and how we got from one topic from another, it would look like a crazy, abstract mess because when you have nearly two hours to run, nothing is off-limits.
Despite feel-like temperatures that hovered in the low teens that morning and the loss of feeling in my hand by mile five, the random conversations kept the momentum going. Knowing that we could stay chatting for so long meant that we all going at comfortable pace, even if it we were moving at a rather speedy SLR 8:30 minutes per miles.
And even though we spent the run talking, a group of us still managed to spend another two hours together at a local coffee shop eating bagels and drinking the hot coffee that we spent the last two uphill miles discussing.
Our long runs are for building up our aerobic endurance and lengthen the amount of time on our feet. For marathon training, that meant running upwards of 20 miles; for my half program, the most I’ll run is 13. No matter the distance, having good company makes the miles fly by.
Such was the reason I signed up for the marathon training program in the first place. I knew that having a group to run with would not only keep me accountable, but it would also provide with me people to run alongside me and keep me motivated. I never would have made it through my 20-miler if I didn’t have my two fellow “Sweaty Bitches” with me on the C&O Canal.
When you run with others, even strangers, a bond forms that unites you. On each run I get to hear some incredible stories from even more incredible people. In spite of families, full-time jobs, social lives and other commitments, we still find the time to come together every Saturday morning to escape from the responsibilities and to-do lists and just talk about what’s on our minds. And that makes every run worth running.