Fitness · Just my Thoughts

The Long Solo Run

After my day at church on Sunday, I went with my fifth child to a live music festival.  We both love live music and have somewhat similar tastes or can at least tolerate each other’s varied tastes in music.  There will be more about the music in the near future.

I saw a friend there who has run multiple marathons and just recently completed a huge trail run.  She has mentored several groups of new marathon runners through Team in Training.  I asked her about the trail run and if she had heard – she is a friend of mine on Facebook even though we do not see each other daily – I was going to run the Wineglass Marathon this October.

As we talked about what training program I was going to follow, how long my longest run will be in that program, she expressed concern.  She said that her immediate concern was that I would be running a 20 mile run alone.  I told her that thought had not really crossed my mind as I have always run alone.  I had never run a race until December of 2009 and, while I now love running races, I can easily resort to my solo running days.

Then, an offer of help came.  My mind immediately flashed back to the giving and receiving discussion in the homily that morning at church.  She said to let her know a couple of weeks out.  She would meet me at a given point with fresh water and some encouragement.  She also strongly suggested I email other friends and ask for the same support.

Why is it asking for help is difficult?  I have managed to wiggle my way through life as a single mom to six kids for the last 14 years.  I do, on occasion but not too often, ask their father for some assistance with them.  Seldom is the help asked for for me.  This is going to be a new thing for me but I am going to take her advice.  I am going to be sure that my first 20 mile run has people at various points to help me get through it.

19 thoughts on “The Long Solo Run

  1. Hi Vicki:

    I understand the dilemma of not asking for help. I have a story of when my ‘giving’ ended up with me ‘receiving’ so much more.

    Last summer my neighbor was training for the Philadelphia Marathon. I didn’t really know her that well – and just happened to start a run at the same time she was one morning – so we ran together. She told me she was having a tough time getting motivated to do the longer distances by herself. When she shared this with me I started running the second half of the 8 to 12 mile runs with her. When she started running 13 to 20 miles I brought in more neighbors so we could run in shifts with her. If I couldn’t run then I’d bike along side of her. We chatted through most of her runs and started getting to know each other more.

    After her marathon she encouraged me to try the Skunk Half Marathon and trained with me all winter. Even though she could have run the Skunk much faster than me – she ran it with me the entire way.

    I would never have attempted a half marathon without her encouragement and support. Nor would I have found such a good friend!

  2. I think it is great that you will have help. I run alone too. I don’t think I’ve thought about the fact that the 20-miler is going to really long and that it might be nice to have some help!

    1. Find local people. They may not run with you but a local running club may help you find some runners that will assist in parts of your run.

  3. You touch on something personal, cultural, and very important here. Asking for help – which is exceptionally difficult for some of us, and ironically, often those of us who are in need of help, and have given it freely.

    I am surprised at how many people ask help for things that are non-essential (yes, a judgment), while so many hesitate to reach out and ask for things to do with survival.

    You’re fortunate to have a religious community in which these issues are raised in some way – and how wonderful that this woman offered to be there for you. Definitely – take her up on it.

    As for why some of us have difficulty asking for help, I think the reasons are as varied as the individuals. I wish I were better at it, for my children’s sake and my own. And yet, at times, the kindness of strangers has shown an awareness and willingness to help. Usually from those themselves who aren’t living in land of plenty.

    1. I do understand where you are coming from, BLW. I just find it hard to ask for help. I find it slightly easier to accept it if it is offered freely.

  4. I’m a do-it-all-yerselfer too, but I’ve found at the times that I allow others to help me, it is such a blessing to me and to them. I think those of us who don’t let others help us rob ourselves of that joy and it also makes us less sensitive to helping others sometimes too.

    Let me know about your run too–maybe I could a few of the middle or last miles with you, or I’d also be willing to come with drinks/food.

    1. Thanks, Jen! I do know what you mean about robbing ourselves, and others at some time, of that joy.

  5. Hi Nicki,
    I think that it is great that you are going to have cheerleaders at several points in your long 20 miler. Sometimes all we need is a little help and encouragement to give us the little extra something to push through! Good luck with your long run…stay positive:) I still have not gone 20 miles. The most that I have been able to do is 17. Go you!

    1. Thanks, Julie. I am still working my way up to that 20. I am having problems finding routes that I can sustain that much running on as I live where it is really hilly.

  6. For some reason this post brought tears to my eyes. I’m thinking of you and so excited for you and so immensely in awe that you are trying. You go girl! We might not be able to be there to be on those sidelines to help with that support but we will be there in spirit.

    1. Christine! Your comment brought tears to my eyes when I first read it and again when I just read it now. Thank you!

  7. If I were closer, Nicki, I’d run with you!! And you should know I think of you every time I’m out on a run, lungs pumping, legs pumping, wishing I had the discipline you do to get my butt out there more often!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Some days it is hard but I know I need to do the training. As a good friend once said and wrote, “trust the training, respect the distance.”

  8. What a fantastic idea. I think Swingset’s comment demonstrates the power and impact that such assistance can have. If I were closer I would definitely try to meet up and help get you through!

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