Days 8 & 9: BRFs

BRF’s (Best Running Friends) 

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Running friends make all the difference!

As we prepare for our weekend long runs, take a minute to reach out to your best running friends and make sure you have a plan to go long together!

Because having a friend who listens, doesn’t judge and somehow makes 2+ hours of running fun is priceless!

Some pics of our #CoreCrew family’s best running friends. Screen Shot 2017-06-30 at 6.54.00 PM

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One of my best running friends, Amiee Cords, gave me a copy of the Lolo Papers sometime last year and I loved it. Recently, she sent me the link to author, Amy Marxkors, blog Project 3(ish) – One runner’s not-impossible-but-highly-unlikely quest to break 3 hours in the marathon.

Amy L. Marxkors is the author of The Lola Papers: Marathons, Misadventures, and How I Became a Serious Runner and Powered By Hope: The Teri Griege Story.  She is also a former Fit Professional at Fleet Feet St. Louis.  Click here to read some of Amy’s previous columns.

Below is a recent blog post by Amy Marxkors. This is from week #7 of her sub 3 hour marathon quest and reveals how grateful she is for her long time best running friend.

Find Your Rick Astley Running Buddy

I never knew an Ace Hardware store could contain within its walls chockfull of two-by-fours and garden hoes so much sentimentality. Yet there it was, just as it had looked almost 10 years ago, when I had to make an emergency pit stop and Jake, who by consequence was forced to wait inside to avoid hypothermia (it was winter and well below freezing), experienced a hitherto undiscovered level of social discomfort in the fantastic combination of running tights and home improvement.

I remember the women’s bathroom in detail because of the urgency with which I had to use it and the intractable wooden door wedge that prevented me from doing so. After a panicked and self-conscious struggle, however, I was able to dislodge the wedge and close the door—to my great and literal relief. Jake, in the meantime, endured a silent struggle of his own.

“Never do that to me, again,” he said as we walked through the automatic doors and back into the cold morning air.

As it turns out, tights aren’t the pants of choice within the hardware store male demographic.

Recently, Jake and I returned to Grant’s Trail for a mid-week run. I had to run 16 miles. He would join me for 10.

“This is like old times!” I said as we began.

Grant’s Trail had been a regular route for us when we first started running together. It was the location of my first really strong progression run. My first true bathroom emergency. My first long run death march.

“I can’t believe we’ve been running together for almost 10 years!”

The trail sparked a tidal wave of memories and nostalgia. I had been a true novice when I started running with Jake, a baby runner whom he had taken under his wing and guided through the miles. He made my first training plans when I had no idea what I was doing. He ran my first track workouts with me when I had never before been on a track. He led the way during my first tempo runs when I didn’t even know what a tempo run was. He ran next to me, stride for stride, when I raced a marathon for the first time. He rode his bike alongside me when he was injured and I had a 20-mile long run scheduled. In the winter. In the rain. In the dark. He dissolved my dread of looming workouts and calmed my nerves before big races. He reminded me to trust my training and to trust myself. He was there when I ran my best. He was there when I ran my worst. And either way, he’d pat me on the back and say, “Good job, kid.” He reminded me that the best you can do is your best on that day, and what more could you want?

The miles passed beneath us, and I realized that everything was as we had left it. The Budweiser Clydesdales. The inexplicable numbered markers placed at random intervals along the path. The Marks-A-Lot factory that’s not really a Marks-A-Lot factory but Smells-A-Lot like one. And when my stomach began to cramp and a bathroom emergency was upon us, I was glad when we hopped off the trail and found ourselves in a strip mall parking lot standing before the only commercial establishment open at that early hour, Ace Hardware.

Per usual, our conversation was easy and familiar and unreserved. We recapped our week and talked about mutual friends. We jabbered on about training. We discussed news headlines that spanned from the amusing (“Thieves Steal $18 Million of Maple Syrup from the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve”) to the thorny and controversial (“Anything That Has To Do With Politics”). And even though Jake planned on running 10 miles with me, he ran 13, because I overslept my alarm and managed only 3 before I met up with him.

“What’s another 1.5 miles?” he said as we blew past our turnaround point, effectively adding 3 miles to his run.

“Thanks, coach.”

Last week, when I was in a bit of a slump and not certain how to handle my sluggish legs, I gave Jake a call.

“What I would do,” he said over the phone, after I had relayed my troubles, “is cut back my mileage over the next three days. You can still hit 100 miles next week. You’ve already hit 95 miles these past few weeks. It doesn’t matter if this week is 80 or even 70. It’s almost like a taper for your 100-mile week. Your body won’t forget how to handle the miles.”

“Okay. That sounds good.”

“And,” he said, “eat pasta and ice cream. It’s my special Slumpbuster Diet.”

“Ha! Slumpbuster?”

“Yep. Whenever I’m in a slump, I load up on pasta and ice cream, and I feel better. Works every time.”

“Got it.”

The Slumpbuster Diet, needless to say, was a success.

I spent this past weekend in Chicago. I was there for a wedding, and the timing for a cutback in mileage couldn’t have been better. I ate pasta (rehearsal dinner) and cake and ice cream (wedding reception). And I ran very little.

But on Monday, the first day of my 100-mile week, I was back in St. Louis. Once again, I overslept my alarm (this time deliberately).

Hey, I texted Jake at 9:15 a.m. I overslept. Wanna run at 10?

Caught me just in time, he texted back. Sure.

And so he delayed his own run from his house (convenient) for a hotter and more humid run from somewhere else with me (inconvenient).

Do you remember how I rediscovered ‘80s music a few weeks ago? Well, the other day, as I was blasting the “’80s Smash Hits!” playlist in my car, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” came on. You know the song…

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Perhaps I was in a sentimental mood, but as I belted out the lyrics, I thought of Jake. I realized that he is the Rick Astley of running buddies. For the past 10 years, he’s been there for me, come rain, come shine, come hell or high water, come overslept alarms. I can say with 100 percent certainty that I would not be the runner I am today if not for Jake. I would not have the confidence I have. I certainly would not be attempting a 100-mile week.

I am humbled and almost overcome when I think about how much fullness and joy running has brought to my life—and how much Jake has done to make my love for running possible. How easy it would have been to quit. How much Jake sacrificed to make sure I never did.

Running is wonderful, but it is also tough. Yes, we can accomplish much on our own, but sometimes we need our Rick Astley Running Buddies to get us through the early mornings, the long run death marches, and the tough marathons. Sometimes we need our Rick Astley Running Buddies to give us a Slumpbuster Diet. Sometimes we need our Rick Astley Running Buddies for entertainment or encouragement or to stand guard if we happen to choose the shrubbery instead of Ace Hardware.

Find your Rick Astley Running Buddy. The miles—even the bad ones—will fly by. You’ll do more than you thought you could, and have more fun that you thought you would doing it. And, before you know it, you may just find yourself on Grant’s Trail, reminiscing about a bathroom in a hardware store, and saying, “I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.”

It’s time for our long runs! Remember that “long” is relative to where you are at in your training, so whether it’s 2 miles or 20 miles…your long run is just as fabulous as every one else. Embrace it, love it…share it with a friend!

This weekend, find your best running friend and share a picture and a quick story with your Crew…share how your BRFs make all the difference in your training and running life. 🙂 Next week I will make a new picture slideshow for our blog with all the awesome pictures you take this weekend.

Our weekend days are always interchangeable so make it work for you. Go long on Saturday and make sure to get in some yoga or other type of active recovery on Sunday. Or switch it up and do some stretching or cross training on Saturday and go long on Sunday!

Day 8: Hip Hike (hip hurdles) warm up + Long Run + :60 Wall Sit + 7 Key Stretches for Runners

Day 9: Yoga for Runners (saw below for links to yoga options) or Active Recovery (easy short (20-30 min) run, bike, swim, walk, or some form of cross training that mimics running movements)

Yoga for Runners:

Don’t forget those pictures this weekend. I wanna see TONS of fun groups and LOTS of smiles! 🙂

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