Running Groups, Partners and Family


I started my running life as a loner (this is not to say my family did not help, they just did not run with me at the time), running hours at a time with only my Ipod and my crazy thoughts to entertain myself...

I remember my first really long run (okay - at one point one mile was a very long run, but that's another story).  I woke up early and ran from my house toward the Cooper River Bridge for a three mile run.  I made it to the turnaround point feeling good and had extra time so I kept running.  I passed the three mile mark and realized I was getting really close to the Bridge, so I kept running (this really sounds like Forest Gump right now).  When I reached the Bridge I knew I was at four miles (crap, I had to run back)!  When I finally made it back to my house I felt incredible!  It was the beginning of my long distance running.

I used Google Maps to figure out routes long enough for my runs and would wake up early to drive the route in order to find places to drop water bottles.  I read a book about running long distance and tried to emulate the training (although I had no idea what it meant by tempo runs, intervals, track workout and a bunch of other crazy runner stuff).

My runs got longer and longer as I moved from the half marathon to the full marathon.  My wife and son started to drive out to the islands and bring me water, but I spent hours alone running those roads, counting the street signs (I think the streets are numbered just for this reason).

One day I ran with a group from TrySports.  This was my first real group run and I was terrified.  I had run three half marathons and a full marathon, but I still did not consider myself a runner and running groups are for runners (right?)...

The group was large enough to have about three pace groups.  People greeted me and welcomed me to the run.  They talked about the route and then we just started running.  I had my Ipod with me and was about to turn it on, but a guy was talking to me and I thought it would be rude (what was he thinking - talking while running).

Trail Running with the Saturday Morning Group
The group of guys I was running with talked about a ton of stuff and I even found out one guy was going through a tough divorce.  I found it strange, but cool, how the people in this group (joined together by running) shared their lives with each other so freely.  They shared running advice and talked about races they had done.  I could not believe how much I had learned about running in one run!

2011 Mud Run
Over the years I have found a group of people I like to run with on a regular basis.  There are people that have come and gone from our group and we always welcome others, but our core group has remained the same for a while now.  I consider them my close friends and would do just about anything for them.

2011 Bulldog Challenge
We have competed as a team in several races and we have raced as individuals.  We celebrate each others victories and accomplishments as if they were our own.  We are an odd combination, covering three decades.  Strangely, two of us are in the legal profession and the other two are in the healthcare profession. We live in different parts of town, but run together every Wednesday and Saturday.  When one of us needs to run early, so we can make it to our child's practice or some other family event, we are all willing to get up at a crazy hour in the morning and make it happen.

My newest running partner is my wife.  In the past few months I have had the chance to run with her on some of her long runs.  She knows that her pace is slower than mine and is always telling me I can run ahead, but running at a different pace is such a small thing compared to sharing something I love with someone I love.

Savannah Marathon
This weekend my wife came out and ran with our Saturday group.  I could tell she was taking it all in the same way I had years ago on my first group run.  It did not take long before another runner started talking with her as we ran our first mile.  There was another runner going at her pace and we all stayed together for about nine miles.  We learned a ton about him (even found out that a one time he was a running back for the San Diego Chargers!).  My running partner Cathy joined us on the run and we all ran together on the same islands I used to run alone.

It took a while for my wife to ease into her pace and relax, but I think she was enjoying having company on her longest run.

Jen and I on a Long Run
My wife and I finished our 15 miles and Cathy left to finish her run.  It was Cathy's birthday so we met her near the end of her run with cupcakes and sang happy birthday to her.  That's just the crazy stuff you do for your running partners.

I still do most of my runs alone, but the time I get to spend with my running group is very valuable to me and the time I get to spend with my running family is priceless...

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