When the running gets tough, the tough get friends. And beautiful locations, which isn’t too hard in Orange County, thanks to the ocean boardwalks, and Corona Del Mar. The nice thing about running friends is this: I enjoy all of them for different reasons.
Last week, I picked up a running buddy on Craigslist. This sounds a little sketchy, I admit. But her ad was friendly, and we emailed back and forth, and she had a Facebook page. We met in a populated and well-lit place, and we actually both had brought pepper spray and had to text our boyfriends once we met up to assure them we were not in the presence of a psycho. While sad that we live in a day and age when all these precautions are necessary (at least in my slightly over-concerned mind), at least she was on my safety-first page.
We ended up having a very pleasant run together – she showed me a part of Orange County I’d never seen, and I pushed her to run for longer than she usually did. Plus we conversed naturally and discovered a mutual residence in Santa Barbara (at different times in our lives), writing, and anything pop-culture related from the 1980’s.
Friend number two was “Sachmo” as the boyfriend has affectionately nicknamed her. She had expressed interest in starting to run before, and I love helping new runners get their running shoes wet! We established a routine of run/walks around town in the early morning hours; she appreciates my ability to not be too hard-core about the whole thing (and goodness, why would I be? If I learned anything from my dad about training it’s that you can’t scare people off), and I like that she gives me a reason to get out of bed. Plus, she gets ready at my house afterward, which makes me totally feel like I’m in college and have roommates. I miss roommates! (I know, I never thought I’d say that either.)
Friend number three was my dear friend J. She knows a gorgeous run in Corona Del Mar that involves hills, stairs, sand, and a community of strange little fitness people who also love hills, stairs and sand (and love talking about their love for it all, too!). I like J because she keeps me realistic. Whereas I want to run for an hour on an empty stomach, J is satiated with moderation and is incredibly smart about working out. Plus, we know each other well enough that we yabber the whole time about crazy topics like the inner workings of the Girl Scouts (she made me like them) and sports fitness, which granted, isn’t that crazy.
I had to run solo today, with only Ira Glass to keep me company; it was a pleasant jog, counter-clockwise on a route I usually do clockwise. But the whole time I wondered if I would be a little too crazy if I just imagined other friends with me and had pretend conversations with them instead. Not that I don’t love Ira…I just like interactive running friends more.