Running Buddies Make You Realize Your Potential.

I feel like people can’t talk enough about the value of running buddies. The past couple weekends, I have had the pleasure of being accompanied by seasoned runners during this training cycle’s long runs. One of them was a D1 college runner and the other has a bajillion races – okay, probably 6 or 7 marathons, a dozen 1/2 marathons and numerous other distances – under her belt. It was so interesting to hear each other’s preferences, from the pre-race food to how and when we stop for the water stations, to the longest run we prefer during marathon training.

My favorite thing about other runners is how competitive we are but how much we want each other to be successful. There are always high-fives going around and lots of smiles after the run is over, even on the coldest day or the slowest run of the year. My past three long runs (10, 10 & 8 miles) were the easiest and quickest I have done thanks to people who believe in me.

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Beau needs to be in allllllllll the pictures. Silly pup.

These are, personally, my top five reasons for running with a pal when it’s anything above 6 miles:

1. I’m competitive. If you’re not going to stop, neither will I. Near the end of my fastest 10-mile training run EVER, my pal kicked it in high gear, and I didn’t even think my legs were going to get my feet off the ground anymore. Her words of encouragement got me through that incredibly hard 60 seconds of running and I couldn’t be more thankful! I had no idea I was that close to my goal. 

2. In addition to being competitive, I never want to hold someone else back if I know I’m just being lazy. If my body truly can’t go, that’s one thing, but if I’m just tired, having a running buddy makes me say, “Push through, because they gave up these two hours of their day to get a good run in WITH YOU.”

3. Pushing other people, when I’m the one having a good day and watching them get faster and more mentally tough is equally, if not more, fulfilling than feeling yourself become a better and faster runner.

4. The IronMan 70.3 does NOT allow headphones on the course. Every time I go out with a friend for a long workout, the headphones stay behind, helping me prepare for that dreadful, music-less 13.1 (plus 56 miles of biking) in August. It’s some of the best conversation, the occasional TMI conversation, but you know your deepest running thoughts are in good hands with them.

5. Don’t you get bored of the route you ALWAYS run in your neighborhood? My running buddies and I like to try new routes and we get that added safety in numbers. The new scenery helps our run go by so much faster. I don’t look at the next street and tell myself, “Oh gosh, there’s still X miles to go before we’re done.”

As I’ve mentioned before, there are some runs that are purely for my peace of mind, stress relief or I just NEED alone time. There are runs where the goal is speed work, and it’s hard to do it with someone who isn’t shooting for the exact same goal time or distance. It’s good to run alone for those reasons. It’s good to even just enjoy being alone sometimes, but nothing beats the feeling you get when you have others pushing you and you’re motivating them right back. On race day, they’re the ones who will know your goal, when you’re mental strength is failing and how to get you through it, and they’ll be there after it’s over, smiles, cheers, hugs & high-fives ready, regardless if it’s a PR or it just wasn’t your day.

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This is last weekend’s run! Shelby is da bomb and made me realize that I can do the speeds I have in my mind that seemed so out-of-reach? Isn’t that great? She’s great. So are YOU!

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See that snow? That’s going to go away soon. I HAVE FAITH IN SPRING 2015’s PUNCTUAL ARRIVAL!!!!

On another super-duper positive note, I am optimistic (and also, my iPhone weather app tells me so!) that we are done with negative temperatures for the season! And, with daylight savings next weekend, I will be running outside more often! THANK YOU MOTHER NATURE!

I hope you have had a stellar weekend.

Did I forget any FANTASTIC reason to run with a pal? 

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Some of my favorite pictures!

I had mentioned some of the people I took pictures of most recently. I have been having so much fun in the last year, learning to use my Mom’s DSLR camera. She and my aunt do photography and it has really interested me (www.fourkays.com). They do an amazing job and my mom has let me take her camera anywhere I’ve asked! Trusting, right? Since I was teaching myself/ gathering tips from my Mom and others along the way, I just did all of my “photo shoots” for free. When you use the word FREE, you get lots of people with all sorts of different events to be your test subjects. It worked out wonderfully. I did friends, families, couples, maternity, newborn, weddings, etc…

These are some of my favorites:

My favorite man has grown up so quickly! Loved this day!

My favorite man has grown up so quickly! Loved this day!

Another little cutie - and so smart, too! :)

Another little cutie – and so smart, too! 🙂

Good luck finding anyone who loves dog more than Megan! :)

Good luck finding anyone who loves dogs more than Megan! 🙂

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That fave little boy again. I wonder if he’ll ever see this when he’s older… 😉

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These two were part of my FLAWLESS cousin's engagement shoot. I'm sucky lucky to know such a beauty :)

These previous two were part of my FLAWLESS cousin’s engagement shoot. I’m so lucky to know such a beauty 🙂

The soon-to-be famous Tyler gave me the honor of practicing with some headshots!

The soon-to-be famous Tyler gave me the honor of practicing with some headshots!

My love for this picture isn't because of any editing or technical aspects. This is sheer joy, and I love it.

My love for this picture isn’t because of any editing or technical aspects. This is sheer joy, and I love it. P.S. Each of them is wearing one their race shirts, runner followers! :p

Finally, my most recent love. When a picture ends up exactly as you picture, it's a good feeling. Simple and classic for the mom-to-be.

Finally – my most recent love. When a picture ends up exactly as you imagine it to, it’s a good feeling. Simple and classic for the mom-to-be.

Although I have so much to learn still and so many more types of things I’d like to photograph, I am thrilled with how far I’ve come in the last year with editing and recognizing bad shots (and good shots, too!).

Do any of you mess around with photography? 

What are your favorite types of pictures to look at?

The BEST Me – From the Inside, Out!

2014 was such a quick year. My mom has told me that they just seem to go by faster as you get it older. I sort of hope that isn’t true!

Every year, we all make lists of things we want to accomplish. I started to write those down again. It had a lot of the same things from prior years that I say I want to do and then fail at by February 1. Those things usually revolve around reducing the amount of sugar I consume, running at least 5 days a week, losing 10 pounds, etc… Here’s the thing: My soul and I really love ice cream, some weeks your body wants NEEDS more rest and my worth is not in those ten pounds. Enjoy those treats in moderation, know when your body deserves to sit on the couch and watch an episode of Friends, and most importantly, know when to push your limits and when to say, enough is enough for today. NOBODY wants an injury that makes another goal unattainable! That definitely doesn’t mean don’t push yourself. It just means, take the time to enjoy the aspects of life that have nothing to do with your physical appearance or fitness level because your heart, soul and your brain matter so much more, as cliché as that sounded. When your heart is happy, you will want to push harder for all of those fitness goals!

That being said,  I do have a shorter list of specific goals for 2015 but it’s definitely going to be about focusing on my soul – being my BEST self.

My running goals consist of:

  1. Get a sub 1:45 ½ marathon time this year! Here’s what is on my race schedule so far: 2015 Races
  2. Complete the Steelhead ½ IronMan in under 6 ½ hours.
  3. Be consistent about supplemental strength training.

My internal goals are:

  1. Take my niece to the beach.
  2. Also, eat some ice cream with her. She’s growing up so quickly.
  3. Read 5 books.

Other than that, my biggest goal is to put positive thoughts and LOVE into every conversation and interaction I have with another person – leave him or her feeling better than when I first encountered them. Life is good and I want to share how good it is with everyone I meet.

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Happy, Happy, HAPPY 2015 to you from me. I hope this is the best year you’ve ever had – in life, love and of course, your running! 🙂

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What books should I be looking at reading? 

What is your favorite inspirational quote?