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Unexpected Running Company

Finally, I’m at the Start Line. Phew. No more thinking about getting enough sleep, traveling to the race, timing my last banana and all of those little details that get me ready for race start. I know everyone around me has similar butterflies (the good kind), and we’re all in this pre race vibe together.  For many of us, the longer the event, the more it becomes about focusing on our individual goals, rather than feeling competitive with the other runners.  I work on letting go of my nerves and smile and say hello to the runners standing next to me. There’s a first timer (please don’t start too fast), and a woman who hasn’t run this distance in eleven years; after having 3 children she’s excited and looks really nervous. 

I wish everyone good luck and take a moment to let go of my own nerves, and the anxiety around me, taking in a deep breath and focus on my own race plan. Run steady, run strong and don’t let go. And then Boom, we’re off and I’m focused solely on my pace.  No sponging what other runners are doing around me.  By mile five I realize the runner next to me is on the same pace. Great!

As long as I don’t deter from my plan, this is like having a racing partner, even though we’ve never met. It’s like an unspoken partnership that offers a great motivational lift in this marathon distance. I’m not getting paced by this runner, but mentally it feels like a big boost. 

But by mile 13, I realize the runner is no longer in my sights and my focus shifts to what is in front of me. Within a mile or so I’m running along side someone who’s gait is smooth and I find her mentally easy to run with.  We end up running together all the way to mile 26.2. Sometimes I’m leading and sometimes she’s leading. As soon as I cross the finish line, I want to find her and thank her.  Congratulate her for running a great race, and just share thanks that we could help each other out - giving our own best efforts.  There is a boost that comes in suffering with others!

I had no idea I’d end up running along side anyone for this marathon. It just happened and I couldn’t help but reflect on the difference it made for me mentally during this race. It’s downright tough and rough out there! And right when I thought I was the only one feeling this way, two other women came up to me and thanked me for the same reason. Now that’s good stuff! Good running company or unspoken partnerships, whatever you want to call it, have huge impacts, both mentally and physically on race day.  Especially when it’s unplanned and happens organically. This marathon was a great race for me, and unexpectedly one of my favorite parts was running/suffering/digging deep with a few runners that I’ll never know! 

Sadie Laughlin ~ Run Formula Coach

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