When I first started to run I ran alone. I ran to think. I ran to escape. My running was all about me. All alone and by myself I loved the half marathon. I loved training runs of 8-10 miles and did them when I wanted, at my pace, and enjoyed my own company.
When I moved to my next distance, the full marathon, it was with a lot of reluctance. I didn't want to run that far and I certainly didn't want to train to run that far. But when I was asked it also came with a plan to complete all long training runs together, to do the marathon together. So I agreed and our first training run together was 15 miles. We talked the whole time. Music was never turned on. And even more importantly, I never felt that it was a long run. We finished, I was happy, and we planned the next week.
Since then I have trained for and completed many more marathons both with friends and on my own. As my family has grown and life has gotten busier it has been harder to coordinate running with friends so I have been back to solo running. (My husband and I are both counting down the days when our oldest is old enough to be left with the rest of the crew for a while so that he and I can run together again, much of our dating time was spent training together.)
Today I had the opportunity to run with one of my best friends. We are training for different distances so I met her in the middle of my own run this morning. We got in 10 miles together, talking the whole time. It was wonderful and reminded me the there are many reasons we run. The friendships I have developed on long runs are the ones that I remember. Those are the ones where we really got to know each other, the good and the bad, the real and the fake, the happy and the sad. These will always be the friends that truly know my heart.