When runners are run down

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In April, my friend Theresa and I ran in the Glass City Marathon and Half-Marathon in Toledo.
Theresa is one of the absolute hardest working, most motivated people I know so, naturally, she ran the full marathon and I accompanied her for just half the race.
In the midst of my last year of undergrad, I didn’t spend a ridiculous amount of time training, figuring I could get by on being a regular runner and having run a few halves before.
On the other hand, Theresa dedicated hours upon hours to her training. There would be weekends when I asked her to hang out and she’d decline, casually saying she needed to go run 20 miles.
One look in our gym bags might show you the difference in our preparation. I packed a pair of leggings and a shirt to wear, while Theresa had multiple outfits to choose from (depending on the weather, of course), several flavors of energy gels, body glide to prevent blisters and plenty of other things I was lacking.
But, regardless of how unathletic I am in comparison, Theresa and I were excited to run together. The courses for the half and full marathon were the same until mile marker 10, so we planned on holding the same pace until we had to split off.
We both felt strong as long as we were together, but only until that point. I slowed down quite a bit at the end of the race, and I learned after she finished that Theresa did too.
I was only mildly disappointed but Theresa was devastated, which was probably amplified by the fact that she ran twice the distance I did.
I completely understand the letdown that comes with missing your goal time, but it was tough to see Theresa was so upset with herself despite achieving something most people don’t even attempt.
Although she was pretty deflated, in classic Theresa fashion, she bounced back quickly and we soon signed up to run the Nationwide Children’s Half-Marathon this October.
A few days ago, I was talking with her about our upcoming race and asked what her goal time was.
Surprisingly, the girl who always has even the smallest details planned said she didn’t have a goal pace – she just wanted to go out, support the kids involved and enjoy herself.
While a little unexpected, I was so happy to see one of my closest friends lift the pressure to perform from her shoulders.
And even without a goal time, I know I’m no competitor for her – physically or mentally – but you can bet I’ll be cheering her along the whole way. Even if it is between my panting.
-Kayleen Petrovia is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.



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