My friend Darrell, a close friend from high school, has long been in Chicago and over the past year or so has been asking me all sorts of running advice as he got into the sport. I’m always happy to help a friend get a passion for the sport!
A couple weeks ago Melanie had a conference in Chicago and I saw it as a perfect opportunity to visit with my buddy and do a race in a state I haven’t run in yet. I first considered a tri but a half marathon was logistically more reasonable. So I signed up for the Northshore Classic half marathon. Melanie wanted to make it but with the conference it wasn’t in the cards for her. I decided to throw it out to Darrell (and this was over 6 months ago) since he’d have plenty of time to train. He’d been a 3 mile every few days type of runner up to that point but he said sure.
Since then, I’ve been able to give support and advice via Runkeeper & just chatting and I could tell he was really doing the right things to get ready for the race. A few weeks back, I made a comment to Melanie that I didn’t expect to have a PR at the race as I wanted it to be more of a training event. She made a comment to the affect of why would I since I’d be with my friend at his first half marathon.
And she was completely right…I had been supporting Darrell’s training but I really had intended to just go run my own race. I would have missed out on a very enjoyable 2 hour 40 minute run with my friend. Even leading up to race day I debated my plan for how far to go with him. When I got to the starting line though, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind…I was running this with Darrell. I convinced him to get to the starting line and he got himself there.
We had a great time. I’m a real chatterbox when I run (no really, I just don’t shut up.) so even when Darrell got tired I kept going. I have to say that seeing my friend finish his first half was pretty great. There was a time when I thought every run had to be the fastest run I could do but I know better at this point. Running and training with friends is what the journey is really all about.
So congratulation to Darrell on a huge step into the running world. He’s backing off the half marathon scene for now and moving to 5k and 10k races (this was his first race ever of any kind).