Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Running friends

When my buddy Paul started running, it bugged the crap out of me. Every time we got together with him and his wife, the conversation would eventually turn to running, spin class, bike riding, training, his body bugg, his calorie burn, or some other fitness topic that usually led to me ordering seconds, or having another cocktail. Dude, we get it. Your in shape. You could pull a car. You could have your own show on the ocho at 3am. Get over yourself. Cripes! Shut up about it.

Now, five years later, I just had a friend of mine post something like that to me on my facebook page.

Quote: "If i have to read one more comment of you eating a salad, running in the heat...reading or writing...i am going to throw up...where is my fun Adam who drinks and jokes...and passes out...."

Now remember, I love this guy, but he may not be what's best for my continued running. Not that we aren't friends. We just currently have different preferences for leisure activity...

I am not saying I can host a show on the ocho, but I am in better shape than I was five years ago. That is not my point though. My point is, when my buddy Paul started exercising, we started hanging out less. Part his choice, part mine. I didn't want to continually hear about it, and he probably wanted to spend more time with people who could relate to his new healthier lifestyle.

They say that people who are overweight tend to have over weightfriends. They say that people who drink to much tend to have friends that do likewise. Remember the first time you tried a cigarette, or beer, or...? You weren't with a group of friends, with you being the only one doing it. You did it with your friends. It was called peer pressure. Or just hanging out with people of similar interests. I'm not sure what they call that when your an adult.

James Ray, author of a book called Harmonic wealth, says that a person's income tends to be very close to the average of that person's 10 closest friends. Take a look around your own life and see if it holds true. Add up the approximate salary of the 10 people that you spend most of your time with – even if they're not friends of yours – and then divide that number by 10. Is the figure that you came up with roughly what you make in a year?

I can tell you this: When I go out with my Foodie friends, my body bugg tells me I ate to much. When I go out with my drinking buddies, there is a good chance that I won't make my run the next morning. When I go out with my sports fan friends, its usually to a sporting event or game.

When I go out with my running friends, it is different. If it is a casual lunch, I typically eat more healthy. If it is dinner, I drink less, especially if we have a run planned the next day. I don't have to feel embarrassed like am being arrogant if I talk about what I like. It doesn't feel like I am monopolizing the conversation. We all want to talk about the same thing. We talk about running.

What was your pace on your Saturday long run? What race are you signed up for? What week of your training plan are you on? Do you eat goo on your runs? Do you carry water on your runs, or do you stash bottles along your route before hand? How is that toe injury feeling? Do you prefer to go in the morning or would you rather run after work.

I am not feeling guilty. I can talk about my obsession openly. It's like AA for runners. Hello, my name is Adam and I'm a runner. Hello Adam, so are we. Would you like to tell us about your story? Well yes, as a matter of fact I would. And we all tell out stories. No guilt.

We live in Phoenix. During the summer, most people don't run outside. If they do, most all of them do it in the morning. Since we live downtown, it is tough to find people to run with. I run most mornings with my wife, and typically once or twice a week by myself. We run with a group on Saturdays, most of whom are training for January marathons. Most of them for P.F. Changs here in Phoenix, and us the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando.

It is great running with a group. We meet other runners. We see people that are way faster than us. We see people that are way slower than us, (although not that many:) It also helps keep us motivated to not miss our runs during the week, since we don't want to ever not be able to finish our group long run.

When you run with someone, it is harder to hit the snooze button (Snoozy), because you don't want to leave your friend hanging. It also keeps you from getting into a rut, which can lead to skipping your runs, or stopping altogether. It keeps you out there on you training runs when you are alone, because you will want to be able to keep up on the run with your friend later in the week.

As the weather here in Phoenix starts to cool off in the fall, we will pro-actively start looking for other running friends. I realized that me posting about my workouts, and my training, and my marathon goals, is getting annoying to some of my Facebook friends. But I will also say that the support I have received from other runners on Facebook is what has motivated me to keep running.

Then I signed up with Twitter. None of my facebook friends are on there. It is my selfish pleasure. It is all about running.

I searched for runners and followed them. I looked up names like alitherunner , seegirlrun , run2finish , and tinyjenna , and started a coversation. And guess what it was about? You got it: Running.

I post things like:

"First time pace under 9 min in 14 years (3.81 miles, 32:50, 8:37 pace). Either that or my Garmin feels sorry for me...(sorry/little excited)".

What do they say in reply? Something like my buddy said to me, or like what I would have said to Paul five years ago? No. They respond with answers like:

"iiagdtr @runintoshape Smokin'...that's a huge improvement!" or

"ReluctntRunner @runintoshape Whoohoo! Congrats! Nothing like breaking through a barrier!"

I am not special. They are not treating me any differently than they do any other runner, online, or in their running community. They are being supportive. They are offering advice. They are checking in to see how my long run went. They really want to know. They really care. Because it's about running.

Find a friend. Find a running buddy. Hold each other accountable for training. Sign up for a race together. Make each other get out of bed. Give each other high fives... Give each other someone to talk to.

I am a little bummed. My best pal Paul lives 2500 miles away. I don't get to go running with him. I don't get to make up to him for my indifference five years ago. I can't say "Dude, I understand." "I get it." That is until we run together this January in Orlando... hint hint...