I need to learn how to share

I need to learn how to share.

Yes, I’m an adult and I know how to share just about everything in my life. But there’s something I have a hard time sharing.

Running.

This may sound odd, coming from someone who has a huge group of running friends – many of whom she MET through running. Even stranger to hear from someone who joined Team Challenge to train to run two half marathons… who went to practice every Sunday for months to go running/walking with others.

Yes, I have a REALLY hard time sharing my running time with others… besides Beep of course. She can run with me anytime.

Why do I have such a hard time sharing running with others?

Perhaps it’s that over the course of the last year, I’ve become accustomed to solo running. I’m not fast enough to run with my running besties. Well, I’ll meet for a group run, run with them for a minute and then my huffing and puffing slows my pace down to something more comfortable. Or, I’d join them on my bike on their long marathon-training runs.

I think this all started last summer when I was training for the Napa to Sonoma half marathon with Team Challenge. I was a run/walker. I aligned myself with the walkers, as I mostly walked, especially on the long “run” days. I didn’t really consider myself a runner. I could run for an eighth or quarter mile at a time, followed by quite a bit of walking. My body and my lungs weren’t ready for consistent running.

Now that I finally consider myself a runner, I have a hard time sharing this with anyone else. It’s like my private Amy time. I’m alone with God’s creation (outside) or trying to lose myself in the music on my iPod on the treadmill at the gym. Don’t even think about talking to me when I’m on the treadmill. Yes, guy at Bally’s who is crushing on me, I’m talking to you. There is nothing attractive about a 250-pound woman running on a treadmill. EVERYTHING is bouncing. Well maybe that’s what you’re liking, but I can assure you I do not feel pretty. So quit trying to get my number while I’m running.

I have an anxious nervous feeling in my chest when I think about actually running WITH someone. What if they’re faster than me? What if they get frustrated when I have to stop to walk? What if they don’t consider this a workout? What if I look ridiculous? What if I fail? What if they get frustrated that I don’t talk when I run? That I don’t want to talk because it will take up precious air that I could use to bust through my lungs on this run?

I’m sure my friends wouldn’t feel this way when running with me, but it’s always in the back of my mind.

I’ve gone to the gym for a treadmill running date with Annie… but for some reason that was different. We could each go at our own comfortable pace and it wasn’t a big deal. I think I was more comfortable with this too because she’s seen me at my very worst as my Team Challenge coach.

But then a friend, Katie, asked me to meet her for a run at the gym a couple of weeks ago. She wanted to try out the track at the gym. She’s new to running so I agreed. I warned her repeatedly that I was slow and took regular walking breaks. She didn’t care. She was excited to go with someone else, as she doesn’t have a lot of friends in the running community. We warmed up with a walk and I kept track of laps with my Garmin. I felt the need to apologize whenever I had to stop to walk, but she was amazing and would stop to walk a lap or two with me. One time I told her to continue running if she felt up to it and so she did one extra lap while I walked. Overall, I had my fastest time for a 3mi run on this workout with her. It was fun but I still felt awkward. I don’t know why, I just left feeling like a fool.

You see, when you’re out on your own… no one knows how long you’ve been running when you take a walk break. No one knows how far your run is. No one knows but you. But when you run with someone, there’s this feeling like I need to make sure I keep up so they don’t think I’m a loser. Maybe it’s just me, but this is a huge insecurity for me. I’m slightly tearing up as I write this and the fact that I’m tearing up makes me sad.

Yesterday I met up with one of my best friends, Rachel, who wanted to join me for my walk/run. She was so sweet and said, “Now, we will go at your pace. Whatever you want to do. I’ll go with you.” This was amazing. But, even though I was with someone I’ve known for almost 9 years, who knows more about me than most people, who knows my struggle with weight issues and fitness… Even with her I felt nervous about running. That and the fact that I forgot my inhaler at home had me saying, “You know, we’re walking at a pretty fast clip today. Let’s just keep walking fast and not run.”

Why did I do that?

Why?

Rachel, of all people, wouldn’t have judged me. But in the back of my mind, I was worried that she would. And so I settled for a fast walk instead of my prescribed walk/run.

By about mile 3 (of the 4.65 we did)… I was feeling guilty. But I also didn’t want to be all “hey, lets runnnnn” so I continued on the fast walk til we returned to her house.

I drove home, disappointed in myself for not even trying a run with her.

I picked up some lunch and headed home. I cuddled with Beep and watched some HGTV and fell asleep for a little afternoon nap.

When I woke up the intense guilt was ridiculous. I felt GUILTY for not RUNNING. There was really no physical reason for me not to run- except for the fear that I would have an asthma attack without my inhaler.

So, I got Beep’s leash and went out for a mile. We averaged 14:15 on the run that was just over a mile.
If my earlier morning “run” had been a good workout, I don’t see how I would have been able to so easily run just a few hours later.

I obviously have some issues I need to work out with this whole running solo business. Races are different… people are running with you but they’re really not. I just have never had to rely on anyone but myself on my runs and maybe that’s why I am so possessive of my precious running miles. Maybe I just can’t stand the thought of starting a run with a friend and then having to tell them to run on ahead… Maybe I need to just get over myself. Maybe I need to go back to therapy.

I don’t know the answers. I just know that I need to learn how to share.

10 Replies to “I need to learn how to share”

  1. Hey. Thanks for sharing. Pardon the pun. 😉 I really hadn’t considered all the feelings that you might have about running or not running with anyone. You are in that weird place between paces and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head: it’s something you can own. Maybe you didn’t choose to run solo at first and it sort of worked itself out that way, and you’ve grown to accept it… but it’s yours now. Think of all the growing you’ve done as a runner able to push yourself to go out and do your mileage on your own. Lots of people struggle with that, and you’re one step (or 10,000 steps) ahead of them. I hope we make you feel as welcome as possible with our group runs, despite the awkward logistics of it. I’ll never forget the day you biked alongside us for a long run. It was special, and it felt like it was for us more than for you. When you’re ready for another side-by-side tm run, call me up. I’m here.

  2. I am 1000% with you on this! I can’t even count how many times I have declined an invitation from someone to go for a run because I didn’t want to slow them down, I didn’t want to feel like we had to stay together, I didn’t want to feel like I had to “entertain” them, etc.. etc.. I totally get feeling like running is your “alone” time. But I don’t really see it as a bad thing. Maybe a little if the reason is solely because I lack the confidence to run with a group, but I don’t think that is the ONLY factor for me. I really, truly do enjoy running by myself!:)

  3. I am also totally with you on this! I just started running- literally, this year lol. i am doing the couch 2 5k program right now and i get nauseous thinking about running with anyone else besides my one friend who is at my fitness level and doing the program with me..

  4. Great post. I know the feeling of not sharing runs. I do 95% of my runs alone. I get it. No one to judge you, look at you funny, bug the shit out you, whatever. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only person that feels this way. I kind of thought I was weird or something. Now I really enjoy running by myself. Me and my iPod. Although, there are times that I wish I was with someone that could tell me if I was doing something wrong, vent about life, or whatever.
    Anyway, great post and thank you for writing and posting it.

  5. This blog was linked in DailyMile, and it resonated with me. I totally understand how you feel. I’ve done the “let’s just walk today” thing even though I needed/wanted to run. I’ve been running for over a year, and I’m still slow (whatever slow is). I am meeting someone I hardly know for a running date tomorrow night, and I am nervous. I already know she’s faster than I am – I don’t want to annoy/frustrate her. Guess I’ll wing it.

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