I used to run alone all of the time. In high school, our distance team on track was so small that it was not unusual for me to run with the guys or completely alone. During college, running was often my alternative work out when the rowing schedule allowed it. When I was in grad school, running was an outlet for me and Ben would only occasionally run with me.
In the last two years, Ben has become my running/work out partner. It is rare that we work out separately. We train together, we race together. It has been awesome to have this time together, especially since it is such a huge part of our lives. In the last several weeks, Ben has been dealing with an injury and has drastically cut back his running. This has been somewhat freeing as our lives our not dictated by a running schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not cutting back my running, I just feel like I have a little more freedom to do what I want and I think it is good to take a step back and make sure that running is not the only thing that defines us.
All of that being said, not having a running partner has been…interesting. It is much more challenging to be motivated to run on days when the weather has been nasty. It has also been more difficult to go for long runs knowing that we usually spend that time together. There is also a sense of guilt associated with leaving Ben behind. Brewer also does not get to come as often as I strongly dislike managing a dog in our neighborhood alone (lots of strays and no fun on ice/snow…plus he is a cold weather pansy).
On the other hand, being forced to run alone has been so good. This time has really forced me to re-evaluate my running and to make sure not look to someone else to motivate me or to get me through a run. It is so easy to focus on making sure Ben is ok when we are together, that I have had to focus more on listening to my body and being tuned in the entire time. I have had more quiet time, which is such an amazing aspect of running for me. During this time, I have been encouraged to run with other people with different strengths, which has been a good challenge for me.
In the end, this time alone has been a challenging, but good time for me. Enough already though, I am ready to have my running buddy back!