Last weekend, I went for an 18-mile run with 8 miles near the end at marathon pace. Some people would say, “Great job!” Other people would say, "You're crazy." But I love being outside, staying fit, and getting faster. On this run, I saw a friend who I cross paths with occasionally. Normally, either he or I are focused on what we are doing and don’t think to change direction and run together. The first 8 miles of my long run were at an easy pace. So, I had no reason to be in a hurry.
This was a great time to catch up with my friend. We picked up a conversation we started a year ago which led to some personal issues he was having. We talked and looked for hope in his situation. Then I brought up something difficult going on in my life that I asked him to pray for. It was great to run with him and the time passed quickly.
Not only are endurance activities great for fitness, but they can also be very social and emotionally energizing. Before I jumped into triathlons, I met a group of guys at least six days a week to run. Sometimes we ran harder than we needed to. But we always had laughs. We met at a park called Legion Park. So, we called ourselves the Legion Park Group or LPG.
One of the funniest jokes from these guys was after the Chicago Marathon on 10/10/2010. We were standing in the family meeting area when the last member of our crew walked over to be with us. Another friend immediately said, “We were worried about you. They put your picture on the back of a milk carton.” Everyone laughed including the one who was being teased.
Paula has also made great friends through running and triathlon. She and her “squad” have travelled the country together. Several times they have run Disney races in costumes.
When Paula competed in Ironman Louisville, one of the “squad” was with her from start to finish of both the training and the race.
If you train alone, you can get lost in the quietness of your own breathing. If you listen to music or podcasts, you can get lost it those as well. Training alone can be a good time to focus on God through prayer and praise. If you train with others, you get lost in the wild conversations.
When people ask you why you do it, it’s as much for the social and mental aspect as the physical fitness and competition.
If you would like to be more social with your training, join our team and make friends in our community of athletes. Paula and I coach based on our experience and research. Our team athletes also contribute their own insights and stories and this gives you a platform to share what you love with like-minded athletes.
Some people may not understand the reference and get the joke…but back in the day…dairy companies would post the picture of a missing person on the side of half gallon milk cartons.
The LPG placed second in the team division that year. Great job guys if you read this!
Not my finest moment - I got lost in the moment after the Chicago Marathon and forgot that Paula had been on the course cheering for me on crutches. She was worn out and rightfully frustrated that I hadn’t found her. Sorry Babe!