Running Buddy Alchemy

This past Saturday, I went out for my longest run since my Great Ankle Injury of 2012 that had me sidelined for the better part of the summer…a whopping 10 miles! It was one of those magical early autumn mornings that only New Mexico can deliver; a handful of hot air balloons lazily drifting in the vivid blue sky, a certain crispness to the warm sunshine, and sunflowers everywhere.

My friend Teresa and I had decided to attempt this great athletic feat on one of our favorite routes, a meandering mostly shaded dirt path by the river. One of my favorite things about running is how it invites me to fully experience fleeting moments of time with all of my senses. We came upon this clearing about 10 minutes into our run, and both stopped to marvel at the beauty of the moment.

A field of sunflowers greeted us as we started our run

We had a wonderful 2 hour adventure (yes, both the path and the runners meandered) filled with that delicious kind of free-flow conversation that is stitched together by footfalls and punctuated by wildlife sounds and sightings. We got to talking about the delicate alchemy of a running buddy friendship. Running buddies can make training exponentially more enjoyable. The Yasso 800 workout you once dreaded turns out to be freakishly fun when alongside some entertaining fellow runners. That 22 mile run that ended up taking almost 5 hours because of unscheduled pit stops, a tight ITB, and/or wardrobe malfunctions ends in laughter instead of tears, and you process your frustrations over a 2,000 calorie brunch afterward. The right running buddy can take any run and charge it with an energy of connection and companionship that makes the whole experience more satisfying. But much like dating, there are trials and tribulations that must be endured as you search for your running buddy soulmates. I feel lucky to have found a handful of awesome running buddies over the past couple of years; they inspire me to try new things and to keep running!