Friday morning I set out on my 20 miles alone. My usual long-run partner was out of town and I had to run a day early because a certain 2-yr old was having a birthday party which meant no Roaster surprise partners. Being by myself I could have stuck the earbuds in but they only hold a charge for about 9 miles these days so I just said screw it!

I’ve come to really enjoy the lack of noise while running. I run early so there are rarely cars let alone people when I start. This silence is about all I get for quiet these days. Two young boys, a full time job, volunteering and OF COURSE friends leaves little time for quiet.

Pause for one running related non mushy comment: I’ve also found that running without headphones has proven a reliable way to focus on my stride and not fall into bad habits when I’m tired. I’m able to hear the imbalance in my stride and correct it quickly before the pain in my knee or hip start. I thought I absolutely HAD to run with music or podcasts until my headphones stopped holding a charge long enough for my long runs. What started as a couple miles without headphones is now 20. The only day I listen to music is w day but that’s only because I need to listen to the robot in the Runners World app yell at me to run another 600 repeat so I might as well get some good tunes in between!

The first 8 miles were magic. Quiet and alone. I was supposed to loop home at this point but I felt so good I kept going. At mile 12 I ran into my friend Meg out for a quick trail run. Stopped, chatted quick, and was back on my way feeling more energized and ready to tackle the rest. I looped home at mile 14 to find my oldest already awake. He loves his bike and is never lacking for energy so I asked him to join me for the last 6 on his bike. He didn’t miss a beat and was out ahead of me in no time. I still got my quiet but keeping an eye on him and hollering “mom safety reminders” was a welcome distraction for those last miles. He also gave a gentle reminder to run after we’d crossed the road together at one point. He’s a good egg.

I got home feeling so strong and supported. From my husband who rolled over when my alarm went off to remind me “I was going to do great”, to Meg with her constant smile and “go get ’em” energy (even after having just sprained her ankle on the trail!), to Susan who had clearly been thinking of me all morning since her text asking how it went arrived near milliseconds after I’d finished, to the supportive texts from injured friends who I know wish they could be running right beside me, to Kate’s texts reminding me I CAN DO THIS! , to my family who don’t really understand why I choose this crazy sport but think I’m pretty amazing just the same.

I know it is often said that the distance training cycle is not a solo event but wow did it hit me hard on Friday. I pounded those 20 miles anything but alone.

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