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? 

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?

IRONMAN 70.3 STEELHEAD

I just registered for the Ironman 70.3 Steelhead. Here’s to a new journey.

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Yes, this one! 9 Months away!

Yes, this one! 9 Months away!

I went to the website more than three times over the last five days, but just couldn’t hit the submit button. I kept chickening out. Can I Will I really put in the training that’s required to accomplish this?

This morning, I just randomly woke up with a new outlook on it! Hey, ya know, this is just a 1/2 IronMan. I’m not even doing the WHOLE thing. 😉

In all seriousness, I’m aware it will still be tough and that the 70.3 is not something to joke about. But, I really did wake up with the mindset I needed – I can truly accomplish this. I have all of the support I could possibly need and am so blessed to be healthy enough to attempt it!

Of course, the first thing I did was write a blog post on the blog I’ve maintained so well because ya know, if I tell all of you I’m going to do it, then I’m held accountable. At least, that’s the idea behind it. I hope you’ll follow this new journey; the runs, the bikes, the undoubtedly cold swims and all the randomness in between. Better yet, join me! Please?

Feel free to comment any of your triathlon training advice or experiences.

Anyone want to be my virtual training buddy here in a couple months?

Where have you found the best triathlon training plans? 

#IronManSteelhead