I ran alone today, but I felt like I was in good company. I was thinking of all the people who have had a part in my running progress. I pictured them out there with me, some running ahead, some beside, and others cheering me on from the sidelines.
First, Eric. Eric and I ran together when we were dating. Or rather, I ran and he literally ran in circles around me so that we could stay together! He’s the first person to ever tell me how important it was to hydrate. I didn’t listen back then, but I recognize now how important that advice was. He’s been my biggest encourager since I started running again last year. We’re running together again and I think he’s as thankful as I am that my knees don’t hurt anymore!
Kristin, my friend, my fitness coach! Kristin helped me develop an exercise plan for bone health several years ago, and she’s never stopped encouraging me to exercise. We both thought running was out of the question back then, but she pushed me to do all that I could do. Two years ago, she and I participated in a race in which she finished a 10K before I finished a 5K! I’ll never catch up with you, Kristin, but it keeps me going to think of you running ahead.
Three years of exercise had strengthened me, but I didn’t notice any real improvement in my knees until I started meeting with a health coach last June. Rebecca Mills-Anderson taught me many things, but the first major lesson I learned from her was the importance of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating better led to feeling better and to running without pain. Thanks, Rebecca!
Heidi is not a runner, but she’s miles ahead of me when it comes to nutrition. I have so much to learn, and Heidi has been a willing sounding board for me as I’ve attempted to process my thoughts about food and nutrients and vitamins and health in general. Thanks for all the healthy meal plans and snack ideas, Heidi!
My newest run-encourager is Channing who will probably be surprised to find her name here! Channing is training for her first 5K and she texted this week that she’s currently running about a 12-minute mile. Well, my pace has been in the 14-15’s lately, and Kristin has been encouraging me to aim for a faster pace. So as I ran this morning, I imagined Channing running with me. Hey, I thought! I can probably keep up with her! So, I gave it all I had and ran my first mile in 11 minutes and 54 seconds. Thanks, Channing!
And then there’s Jan. Jan quietly encourages and praises my efforts even when my finish times are laughable compared to hers! This past Saturday in the High Country 5K, she placed 1st in our age group with a time of 26:21. I placed 3rd with a time of 42:12. Picture Jan crossing the finish line and then waiting almost 16 minutes for me to make my appearance!
Running down the trail today, I pictured Kristin and Jan running in the distance with Channing just a few steps ahead. I thought of Eric running beside me, keeping me company, even though he’s still a faster runner than I am. In my mind’s eye, Rebecca and Heidi were sitting on a bench nearby planning a nutritious recovery snack!
In addition to my imaginary cheerleaders, there were some awesome birds on the lake today: red-winged blackbirds, belted kingfishers, purple martins, Canada geese, and a great blue heron. Here’s a little video of the great blue heron. Be sure to turn the volume up for his funny squawk at the beginning of the clip.
Thanks for letting me share my run with you!