I am a very stubborn person. I have said for years that I do not want, let alone need, a BF who is a runner because I have absolutely no interest in sharing that part of me with him. All that mattered to me was finding someone who would stand by my side, understand my crazy love for this sport, and support me. And by support, I mean put up with my early nights so I can get up at the crack of dawn to run, put up with my Friday nights in and alone so I can get ready for a long run Saturday morning, and put up with me running (and obsessing, slightly) several races each year, signing up for the next as soon as I’ve completed one.
To that point, I have been reluctant to run with the BF, who happens to be a runner. And a pretty darn talented one at that. It’s intimidating, if not infuriating, to realize that my goal pace is his easy pace. He offered early on to join me on my speed work and pace me and I blew him off. Repeatedly. No way was I going to share my sport, my way of relieving stress, my way to cope with life, with him. I mean, think of the consequences. If we broke up, and my way of working through things (running) suddenly reminded me of him, that would just STINK! Right?!? Not the mention that I was opening myself up completely to vulnerability.
I’m not sure at what point that all changed. I surprised myself when I asked the BF to meet me just after the halfway point during the Drake Relays Half Marathon and run me to the finish. He didn’t even take me seriously and brushed me off, assuming I was joking. But seeing him waiting to meet me and knowing that he was going to get me to the finish was exactly what I needed.
Accepting the fact that he has been running a LOT longer than I have and that he actually does know a few things that I can learn from (imagine that 🙂 ), we made plans to meet for my Tuesday track work out this morning. Admittedly, I woke up dreading it. I did not want to do speed work with him. On one hand, I knew it would be good to have a pacer. On the other hand, I didn’t want to look foolish huffing and puffing while the pace was a walk in the park for him. I mentioned several times as we started our warm up jog to the track that I really wasn’t feeling like this work out, hoping he would suggest an easy few miles around his neighborhood instead. No luck. He said he didn’t really want to do it either, but seeing him suck it up and continue heading in the direction of Roosevelt High School, I followed suit and shut up.
To my surprise, I ran the first 800 with ease. It was great to have him next to me and to chat with throughout the recovery. Starting out on the 2nd one, he reminded me not to start too fast and then proceeded to keep me exactly on pace. I didn’t even need to be monitoring my watch! AND I wasn’t even huffing and puffing like I thought I would be. (granted, the cooler temps this morning helped considerably…). The 3rd 800 was the fastest one I think I’ve ever ran at a 6:36 pace. I was feeling good too! We finished the 4th 800, every split was right on target with where I hoped to be in another month, after taking time to work up to a better pace. I felt so good, like I was cheating giving up after 4. A clear sign that next week, I’ll be bumping it up to 5 800’s.
I’m not sure whether it was me not wanting to look like a wimp in front of the BF, but I pushed through what limits that exist in my mind, those alarms that tell me I’m going too fast, I’ll never finish if I don’t slow down. In fact, those alarms didn’t go off at all. Knowing he was next to me kept me going. Trusting that he would pace me, I just followed and ran what felt natural, not what my watch was telling. And it was faster than I thought I was capable of. Talking to him during our cool down about what I need to do during training for the Tucson Marathon in December, he told me I’d hitting my goal times during my speed work and for the first time, I trusted that. Afterall, swallowing pride always pays. And growth never comes without vulnerability.