1/21/10

I Drink Alone

I drink alone, all by myself. (song reference here) Heed that is. Yes. Most of my training is done alone. The quandary I face is that I love to run with people. Sadly my schedule does not always lend itself to other running buddy's needs and wants. So, I creatively and consciously try to carve out possible running routes and plans that others can enjoy along with me at least once a week. Sometimes I gear them up ahead of time to let them know what the plan is and sometimes I just pray that they will be amendable when I show my face. Gulp.


The chances of me finding a running partner these days are slim. There aren't many people who will allow themselves to fall into the mold that I have cast most mornings. Most running buds either want to run with no plan or they themselves already have a hard core plan that I would not fit into. Interestingly enough the latter is becoming more and more common. Usually only one or two of my buddies will engage me on a run when their time allows. I'm forever grateful and thrilled when I am blessed with their company and try diligently to make the experience as fun as possible. If that is at all possible.

All of the other days I am with me, myself, and I. At first this was a major challenge for me. Coming from a running background I ran with clubs and running buddies 100% of the time. It's just so fun. The only off chance you would find me running by myself would be on vacation. Even THEN I vowed I would find a friend to drag along on vacations one of these days so we could run together. This has actually come to pass over the last two years. My good friends Mel and Dan now vacation with us yearly and we get to run our little hearts out. We've even incorporated the "Beach Sprint" to spice things up. We make quite fools of ourselves in front of the other sun worshipers.

This year is so different. After many lonesome training sessions I have experienced a shift in my need to be side by side with co-runner. I now have an appreciation of training alone. I've always appreciated MY time alone but it took me a long time to appreciate TRAINING alone. I longed to have that camaraderie e that comes from working hard side by side and talking about it afterwards over coffee. I missed that terribly.

But alas, that was not to be most of the time over the past year. And, somehow, I have survived and emerged as a vain triathlete with a new appreciation for training alone. I no longer dread the oneness. Now I look forward to my long swims alone. Long bike rides alone. Long runs alone. It's quite nice actually.

I still run with my buddies as stated above at least once per week when they let me. I still love them dearly. But it's not a chore to have to run alone anymore. I have embraced the lonesomeness of being a triathlete. It's just there all the time and over time you learn to adjust. You grow up. In my heart of hearts I always new I would eventually grow up but it was painful and I wasn't quite sure how long it would take for me to adjust. It took a whole year.

One of my goals this spring and summer is to get one of my buddies to come biking with me. Whether they will come with me remains to be seen. But the reason I want to drag them out there is not because I want a training partner but to really show them how great triathlon is. I really want to help them get into the sport. I want to be there for them to help ease the transition. I know firsthand how hard it is to enter into this sport.

So, one of these days you might see me alone (drinking) or you might see me with a partner (drinking). Either way I know I will be having fun and hopefully they will be having fun to!

9 comments:

Running and living said...

I was the same way, always running with people, particularly long distances. But then I got faster and lost my training buddies. I was so nervous about doing my first 20 miler alone... Now I absolutely love running alone. I still get together with others for weekend runs, but only when I am not training for something, or when they join for part of my long run.

Mary IronMatron said...

I love running with people too, as you know, but you are so right that as a triathlete you just have to do SO much of it alone because of the specificity of it... Fitting it in is also hard. I need the a.m. to swim, so I can't run with the group-etc. and so on.
But yes, I like it alone now too. I'm so used to it!
I think it's awesome that you want to bring people into tri... :)

cheryl said...

Yes, I totally understand! I used to run all the time with friend(s). SInce I got a coach, I'm 99% of the time on my own. And I have grown to actually enjoy it. I do have tons of people to ride with and for that I am thankful. Only occasionally is my workout specific enough, or a 'do alone' that I am on the road by myself. In Tucson, you won't be drinking alone. Well, I guess we could all be spread out on our own, but I imagine there will be much time where we will be with one other.

maria conley said...

Oh my god, Melissa. I am not liking running alone!!! I love to run with the group, but lately I've being pretty much running by myself. I hope to learn to like it. But for now I am very sad about being alone. And as I'm getting older I have found out that I need more time to recover. I hope my coach understands this.

Melissa said...

I know how you feel Maria. When feeling blue remind yourself that you are working towards a huge goal and it will all pay off.

Meg said...

I used to run every long run with a group, every track work out with a group and my mid-week runs with one training partner. I think when I got serious about running it became harder to coordinate these work outs. Now I feel LUCKY if I have someone to run a long run with(besides my husband who is great but...sometimes I just need a good therapy run with girls). Anyway, I am getting used to running alone more. One thing that would be HARD to do alone is speed work though.
Thanks for the shout out for Sunday!

GoBigGreen said...

I just read your post today! Yesterday I wrote one very similar to your's! I dont drink heed but i sure train alone alot and it took me a while to get used to it. I think i miss the post wko chat and coffee more than the company during the wko:) But long rides..I still do anything to have company for those REALLY long ones. Partly bc I suck at changing flats:) sad but true!

runputt said...

I almost always run alone and always have, mostly because of my schedule (running from work at lunch). I look forward to running with the club on the weekends but I still find that once I ramp up my miles and start to do the really long runs I like to do them alone. That way I control the pace, the route, and have the flexibility to deal with unknowns on my terms. More and more I have begun to look forward to long runs alone, especially at odd hours or in desolate places, as a time to just enjoy the quiet.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Melissa! I do all my bike and run training solo - THIS year I jumped in a Computrainer bike class and started to organize group runs for some of the long runs...but I enjoy the quiet, downtime. When the kids were babies I yearned for this quiet time....now, I like to talk b/c they are at school and I end up talking to my TV and computer all day! LOL

Keep enjoying it all - group and solo!

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