Wednesday, September 9, 2009

There ought to be "running doulas"

The most effortless runs I've done have been with a buddy. Come to think of it, and this is strange, so have some of my toughest runs, in the physical sense. But by far the most psychologically tough (totally a term I can use) workouts have been on my own.

Today, as I did a quick 4 miler over lunch, I passed the woman we bought our house from going the other way. We smiled and waved and carried on. A big part of me wanted to zip around and run with her and chat.

It got me thinking about how quickly 10 or even 20 minutes can pass when someone is telling you a good story or pouring their heart out or complaining about their spouse. Suddenly, you look up and three miles have dropped behind you.

I realized that this is part of what having a doula in labour is like - it's companionship, someone to help, support or distract based on whatever it is you need. I need one of those for running, at least part of the time. Sure, I have an iPod or talk to myself to pass the time, but it's not the same. Just someone else being there makes every mile easier, though maybe not faster.

Running is a solo sport, sure. And don't get me wrong, I value that alone time, the quiet, the simplicity of one foot in front of the other. But my happiest runs are tandem runs. Even when they go far longer than planned, even when they're cold and slushy or windy while I'm pushing a stroller, even when the conversation is infrequent the same holds true: It's just nice to run with someone. I miss my "someones".

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