This running community of friends

I was going to write something smart about my first Cellcom half, also being the first time it was paced by mushers from the Iditarod, but while I was out clearing snow, like so many others in Northeast Wisconsin I had time to think about just how much I really hate snow and cold.  Just how difficult it is to breathe when it’s cold and how I always seem to tweak some muscle or joint when I run on snow and ice.  I thought how simple it would be to email my running coach that I wouldn’t be with the group in the morning.

Then I thought of a friend I met after church a couple of weeks ago.  She had just read my previous blog entry about having Parkinson’s but running anyway; she thinks I’m awesome.  She said we should run together some time.  And then in the next breath she mentioned that she was hoping to shave a couple of minutes off her Cellcom time so she could qualify for Boston.  Here was a woman, training for a marathon, aiming to qualify for Boston and she wanted us to run together … and she thinks that I am awesome?

Like most first-timers I’ve started the task of experimenting with fueling.  Gels, Blocks, Chomps, Beans, with and without caffeine, taste, consistency, it sure does get complicated and everyone has a different opinion.  However, everyone I have spoken with does agree on two things, try them all and do what feels right for me.  A 5K is one thing; usually one water station, which I frequently skipped, and my pre-race meal was quite sufficient.  Now there’s actually a strategy to everything.

And there’s something else I’m beginning to appreciate as my running distances get longer – bathrooms.  Again, for a 5K this was not a problem.  I’m someone who is used to having everything planned and this is a big unknown.  Once again I turned to experienced runners but most of them just looked at me like, “This is not something we’re going to get into.”  Those that did talk to me had some helpful hints, but everyone is different and just like fueling, whatever is right for me.

I’ve been running now for just one year, but I’ve learned more about runners in the last two months than in the previous ten.  In general we are a selfless lot; willing to answer questions, tell you what works and doesn’t work for us, give encouragement.

I may not like running some days, but I love running.

Tim Riley


2 thoughts on “This running community of friends

  1. You are an inspiration. My Father has Parkinson’s but there is no way he will ever run again. I run (partly) for him-I remember as a child when he would go out and run…Alcoholism and Parkinson’s may have taken his ability away but I’m so grateful that years ago he did-running has brought me to a wonderful place in my life.

    1. Thank you Carol. I’m just glad that I can run because some days the only reason I do is because I know how good I’ll feel afterward. I’ll never win a race, nor set any speed records, but I have promised myself that I will never log a DNF for any race that I start.

      RUN if you can, WALK if you will, CRAWL if you must

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