When I started running seriously about a year and a half ago, anxiety propelled me out of bed and into my running shoes every morning—that relentless pounding thrum that only abated after my endorphins released around mile three or so. I wasn’t sure what would happen if I didn’t lace up my sneakers every morning, but I certainly didn’t want to find out. Once I hit mile three, the agitated voices in my head calmed down, and I could go on with my day. Until the next morning when we (the voices and I) started again.
I’d met April sometime around Christmas 2013 and joined her and other members of Carol Frazey’s Fit School on occasional weekend runs. In mid-March April announced she was training to run the Vancouver BMO half marathon and needed someone to run with on her long run—11 miles. Up to that point, my longest run ever had been seven miles (and not easy ones, either), but I agreed to join her on her long run anyway. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I’d have to walk part of the way? I’d get in really good shape?
We made the 11 miles and struck up an alliance along the way. I don’t remember exactly what transpired next, but eventually April and I were meeting up three or four mornings a week to run and train together. We didn’t actually run together after that first 11 miles—we have wildly different paces and distance goals, but we held one another accountable.
And accountability is key. Knowing someone is waiting at the trailhead or in the parking lot at 7:30 or 8 a.m. is a good motivator. Even if I don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone going for a run, I can’t leave April hanging, and I am confident that she won’t leave me out there to face the early morning hours alone either.
I’ve lost count of how many races we’ve done in the past year or how many laps we’ve traveled around Lake Padden or how many miles we’ve logged on South Bay trail (actually, not true–I could tell you exactly, but I won’t). But I haven’t lost sight of how important it is to have her there so I’ll get out of the car and run in the rain, the wind, even through the thunder and lightning (though I don’t recommend the latter).