When you are away from your running family, there is a void — a missing link. Your running group is comparable to the TV show Cheers, a place where everyone knows your name. You feel comfortable, relaxed, accepted and happy. When you’re away on travel or a vacation, although you still probably get in your miles, it’s just not the same. Things are missing such as your motivation, mental focus, competitiveness and overall connection you have when you’re running with your friends–basically you are on your own. Sure, you pass other runners and say hi, but it’s really the same as passing cars going in the other direction. Once you finish your run, you just move on with the day. No spice! Conversely, when you finish your run with your running family, there’s conversation, connection and maybe breakfast, dinner or just a beer. You get the whole package with your running family and it makes you feel fulfilled and whole.
I’ve been on our annual vacation for a few weeks now and have really missed my running family in Denver. Maui is a small island with a population of about 150,000, so the odds of a large running group such as my group in Denver is low. However, after doing some research on-line and through Facebook, I did find an active group of runners in the South Pacific, the Valley Isle Road Runners. Through Facebook I made some connections and this past Sunday was actually a nice game changer. I ran with three new friends.
Specifically, I met a woman named Rita through my on-line efforts, and she reached out and invited me to run a 9 mile run from Kihei to the Ma’alaea Harbor. She had just run a marathon in Vancouver the prior weekend, and actually qualified for Boston, super cool! So, I got up on Sunday morning at 5:45 am and, as usual, the time went lightning fast to the point I ended up leaving late to go meet Rita. When I finally got going, I ran 1.7 miles to our meeting spot hoping they would still be there and, yes, Rita and another runner, Kelly, were still there waiting and ready to go. We made our introductions and off we went.
Running with new runners is probably no different than your first day of school, being in a new place, new faces and not knowing what to expect. My Denver running group, Runners Edge of the Rockies, has a few hundred people for our Saturday run, so it was quite a contrast to have just us three at the start. Rita was definitely the leader and even knew all the restroom stops along the way. She also had a few bottles of water ditched in a hiding spot. It was also Kelly’s first run, and, even more of a coincidence, she had just moved from Denver to Maui, so we had lots to discuss during the run. Along the route, maybe three miles in, another runner, Sharon (hope I got her name right!), joined us. Also along the way, a guy named John, rode by us on a bike. He’s likewise a runner, but wasn’t running as he was recovering from an illness. He said hi and headed to Beach Bums Bar & Grill to save us a table for breakfast.
Though it was a tough run at times, we all completed the 9 miles and then relaxed for some breakfast. Rita had 2 for 1 coupons – she rocks! We ended up having a good breakfast and great conversation. So, how did we all get back you may ask? Well, yet another person that usually runs on Sunday morning, Mike, had Mother’s Day duties and could not join for the run, but he came by later to pick us up and take us all back to Kihei. Now that’s what I call the Aloha spirit!
So, if you are away from your running friends, do some research and hook up with some runners wherever you are going. For me, it made for a great day as I met some new running friends, and I look forward to doing it all again soon. ALOHA!
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