My Blind Date

“The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

I'm official! I signed up Friday!

13.5 miles. That’s the longest distance my legs have carried me and the the duration of my first blind “date.”

After two weeks of dreading my weekend long runs because I had to do the high mileage alone,East Nasty saved me again. I wrote a post a little bit ago about how sometimes you just can’t do it by yourself. This group has been great for my training! I love the people, the support, and how every time they run, it includes eating/beer or both. These are my people. I can’t wait for our Wednesday runs. It’s a highlight of the week. But after that, the dread of the Sunday long run would start. Most of my friends and those running with the Nasties were training for the half marathon so I was starting to experience what happens at mile 11 here in Nashville for the Country Music marathon. Come mile 11, there’s a huge split where the crowd goes left to complete the last two miles for the half and the few, who lack better judgement, go right to do it all over again to complete the marathon. My training runs were starting to get longer, and I found myself alone on the road. I know, I could pay to be part of a marathon training group but honestly, I have a hard time paying to be in a running group for someone else to set out water and map out a route. No thanks. I’ll save my money and squirrel it away for my next pair of running shoes. Why are those suckers so expensive anyway?

This past week after a great Wednesday run I knew I had to do something because my Sunday long run was going to be 13 miles. The longest I’ve ever run was a half marathon and I’ve only done that twice. This was going to be brutal. So in desperation I went to East Nasty’s blog and on the Sunday run post and asked if anyone in the group was doing the marathon and wanted to go longer. What did I think this was? The e-harmony of running? I hoped I didn’t sound to desperate but seriously people, I was terrified of doing it alone.

Enter Christy.

Within the hour she responded saying she was in training for a marathon too and would love a partner for the long runs. Perfect!

One of the many bridges I will see for my first marathon in Cincinnati...hoping I won't want to jump off of it.

In my excitement, I would be telling people how happy I was about my weekend plans and having a new running buddy, people were amazed at the fact that we would be running together having never met. “It’ll be like a blind date, aren’t you nervous?” Ha! I never thought about it that way. Now I’ve NEVER been on a blind date, and for good reason. I love getting to know people one on one but to be stuck for 2 hours with someone you’ve never met? No thanks. Wait…wasn’t that what I just signed myself up for? Guess they were right. I was going on my first blind date and I was a little nervous.

I got to Percy Warner at 8 (an hour before the Nasties got there so we’d have plenty of time for an easy 5-6) and anxiously waited. Normally you don’t meet new friends and run 13.5 miles but that’s exactly what we did. I had a blast. Not only was it so nice to have a partner to run with but she was great! For the first 5 she bestowed all her marathon knowledge upon me which I so appreciated! She gave me tips on things this marathon newbie wouldn’t even have thought of. Then we met up with the Nasties for a hellaciously hilly 5.8 through Percy Warner park where we kept each other trucking up the hills. After that we ran with two other friends of Christy’s who were equally as great for 2 miles.

Don’t get me wrong, the miles were hard, it’s the longest I’ve ever gone, but I felt great! Never being on a blind date, I’m not sure how people feel after a successful one but I know that after this long run with a new friend, I was thrilled.

It’s funny how many of my friends are ones I’ve met while running. Before I started running, I was in that weird place that a recent grad finds him or herself in after graduating where friends move away and you are stripped of that common language of experience. For the few friends I’ve lost in the shuffle after college, the ones I’ve kept are getting stronger and I’m meeting so many great new ones like Christy through running. More than running, I’ve learned that those who stick it out and do these distance together have so much more in common. As I was running with Christy, I realized that just like her and I, many runners I’ve met share a passion for life, a determination to make a difference and not become an onlooker but a participant in what’s going on around them. Runners work hard and play hard, always with a smile on their face and always cracking each other up and cheering you on during the tough times. It’s a community where you never stop learning, you always look out for each other and constantly share. What more could you ask for? I am so thankful for new friends like Christy that running has allowed me to meet.

So as for compatibility…we are a match! Ha. I mean come on, she also wants to do the Great Wall marathon!

The run was great and we are already scheduling out second “date.”

Have you ever had a running blind date?


11 thoughts on “My Blind Date

  1. That is awesome! Luckily my running group is free and it’s nice to see some familiar faces there every Saturday. I love how you had a “blind date” now if only I could find one for myself that happens to be male and cute 🙂

  2. A post about ME? Oh my Gosh, I feel famous! I am so thankful for you – my new precious friend that patiently waited on me when I was late, encouraged me not to stop running on the Hill of Horror at mile 3 in PW and cheerfully shared stories with me for the rest of the painful 13.5. This is the beginning of a beautiful and co-dependent full-marathon training friendship. 😉

  3. Jackie! I love this post! 🙂 Two things:
    #1 My brother and S-I-L live in Cincy and have run the Pigs marathon, so if you need tips on the course or where to stay what to do, come find me and I will fill you in!

    #2 Christy is a running wiz-kid! She’ll definitely keep you on track and on your toes!

  4. Fantastic milestone! Have you read Christopher McDougall’s book, “Born To Run”? It’s very inspiring for distance runners. I did 10 miles for the first time on Saturday, and kept repeating one passage over and over to myself: The only way to do a *really* long run is to step outside yourself. He makes the point that distance runners are zen-like because running has taught them to care about other people. That’s just one of many reasons I want to get to where they’re going.

    • I’ve heard so much about this book recently! I think I’m going to get it to read now that I’m in that hard part of training for some inspiration. And congrats on the 10 miler! That’s amazing. I remember my first double digit run. I was terrified. You’ve just broken a huge barrier by doing that! How cool!

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  6. Pingback: Catch up with this runner’s blog at OnNashville | The Tennessean's Blog Directory

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