That title may sound like an oxymoron, but running long distances can be fun. It really can!
For over a year now, I have met friends to do my long run. My definition of the long run has changed over the last year, because when I first began driving to meet friends and run, we would run 5 miles. Now, we don't drive to meet unless we are going at least 10 miles. The length of the long run is different for everyone. I now run up to an 8-10 mile distance weekly on my treadmill (which is now my medium run), but I always meet friends for my long run (13-22 miles).
Who Do I Run With?
The one person who I always run the long run with is my dear friend, Lynn. We are joined most often by her husband, Kelly, and for several months (before she became injured) our friend Amber. Since we have started training for our upcoming marathon in December, Jimmy has joined us for all of our long runs. Also, some other friends are becoming regulars: Esther, Heather, and now Kim and Ginger, who joined us this morning, are planning to meet us more in the future. The more the merrier, we say. In our group, we all run different paces, but we run some miles all together, some in pairs, and some alone, but we generally all meet up at the water stops. Mostly Lynn and I stay together the entire time.
All that to say, that running in a group, no matter the distance, makes it so much more fun. Yes, running can be fun!
The Logistics: How We Keep Hydrated
Lynn and I each drive 20 minutes (we live on opposite ends of Tupelo), and the other ladies drive varying distances to our meeting place, a cul-de-sac of a subdivision. We park our cars, turn on our watches, and start running. In the dark. Most of us meet at 6:00 AM, but Heather and Esther usually start at 5:00 AM, and we join them at 6:00. On the way to the meeting place, Lynn and I set out water and Gatorade at a couple of locations. We have a friend who lets us use her guest house bathroom at 2.7 miles from our starting point. We keep cups with our names on them in the kitchen for water. Then we run to around mile 5.5 which is where our first water is set out. Next, we run back to our second water/Gatorade stop at around mile 9. From this stop, we usually go out 1.5-2 miles, and then come back to the water, and then out again 1.5-2 miles. Sometimes we run back to our friend's house, when our distance is super long. When we are within 1.5 miles of being done with our run, we head back to where our cars are parked.
What Makes This So Much Fun?
Support. Friendship. Conversation.
We call this our weekly therapy session. When you are running for up to 3 hours or more, you have time to talk about a lot of things! We share our current struggles, and someone usually has a solution. We plan our days and weeks. We laugh! We comment on people's pretty yards. Mostly, we just visit and encourage one another. And we feel good knowing that we are doing something that is beneficial for our bodies, both physically and mentally.