A Special Run Today...

At this point in my running journey the 6.37 miles I ran today are really nothing worth writing about.  But today it was a special one.  To tell you why I have to go back to 2009 when I was still out of shape and lazy.  I talked about getting in shape but never did anything about it.  At the time I was still finishing up my Bachelor's Degree program at Baker University and one of the guys on my team, Ben Hunter, was getting sick of hearing me talk about it but not do anything.  He was a runner and told me that if I really wanted to get healthy I needed to eat better and start running.  My thoughts were "you're kidding, right???"  I couldn't run 10 feet, how am I supposed to just "start running?"  Well, he had an answer for that too.  He told me about the Couch To 5k walk/run plan.  I tried it, hated it and quit.  He kept encouraging me so I tried again, hated it again and quit again.  Rinse and repeat about 3 or 4 times.

Finally after we graduated I finally got through the program, ran my first 5k and never looked back.  I've been a running addict ever since.  Ironically, however, at about that same time Ben had a kid and pretty much quit running.  He's been back to running and off running several times over the last couple of year, but we have never once gotten a chance to run together.  For a while now he has been back to running but I have been in the final stretch of marathon training so my distances have been too long for him.

Finally things came together.  I'm in my taper for the Louisiana Marathon next Sunday and he is ramping up training for his first half marathon on April 21.  I was scheduled to run 8 miles yesterday (1/8) but when I started my legs were about as tight as they could get so I cut the run off and only did a very slow 3.28 miles.  I was very disappointed at the time that I had such a bad run, but later that day it became worth it.  I got a message from Ben asking if I was planning to run today.  He was scheduled to run 6 miles and that was the furthest ever for him so he wanted to know if I could come run it with him.  If my run had gone as planned and I'd gotten my full 8 miles it would not have been a good idea with a marathon next weekend, but I told him since I'd only done a little over a 5k I'd be happy to meet up with him.

We met up at the Indian Creek trail head at 119th & Quivira and ran up to the trail head at 127th & Blackbob and back.  The temp was cold (33* when we started) but there was no wind and it was sunny so it didn't feel too bad at all.  My wife came too so she could take the dogs for a run while Ben & I were running.  The three of us stood around chatting for a little while then it was finally time to get moving.  Ben & I had planned a 10:00 to 10:20 per mile pace but we were both feeling good and without noticing we were running quite a bit faster than that.  Our pace went up and down quite a bit but we were doing as much talking as we were paying attention to our pace.  We talked a lot about various subjects, mostly running related.  The actual temp didn't warm up much (36* when we finished) but it felt like it warmed up quite a bit; it really felt like mid-to-high 40's.  Once we made the turn for the final little 0.15 or so mile stretch back to our cars we sprinted it out at about a 7:00 mile.

In the end we'd run 6.37 miles in 1:03:22 for an avg pace of 9:57/mile.  Ben's longest run before this had been 5 miles so it was a new milestone for him and it was great for me running with the guy that caused this whole journey to get kicked off in the first place.  We stood around chatting for a while again after the run and I encouraged him to do some trail runs with the Nerds with me and to come try running with the Olathe Running Club with me as well.

There now are just a handful of short runs before the Louisiana Marathon next Sunday and this was the perfect way to head into my final taper week before the race.  Not only was it a great run that helped build some confidence, it was also fun and meaningful.  I hope to run with Ben again many times in the future.

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