If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
– African Proverb
I’m sure that I’ve told you the story of my running days when I would go for four runs during the week then, usually, meet a friend for a long run on Saturday mornings.
During the week I would do a loop, starting at the office, running through what is now Regions Park, then up to Glen Iris, over to Southside, down Highland Avenue, right on Clairmont passed V. Richard’s and Silvertron, up and over to Avondale, and then back to the office on 2nd Avenue. Just me and my thoughts after another day of sitting in a chair staring at a computer. Usually the run was 12 miles, but I could cut off sections to make it shorter if necessary, or add a loop here and there to stretch it to 16 if needed. I enjoyed running fast down the downhills, pushing myself on the uphills, and trying to pass other runners whenever I could. At that pace and all alone, however, 16 miles is about as far as I could go.
Saturdays, though, Brandon and I would meet somewhere, usually Oak Mountain, and run. And run. And run. The red loop is 17 miles, but we usually added 3 to 5 miles on the road to get the mileage to 20 or more. From miles 2 through 16, we’d just talk. We’d talk about kids, Alabama, upcoming races, new shoes, whatever was on our mind that day. Conversations around mile 18 turned in to short bursts of encouragement. “Come on, three more miles.” “Breathe. Breathe.” Oxygen, she’s important. At the end of 20, or 22, or 24 miles, some even number it always seemed, we’d sit in parking lot at the trail head to cool down. We’d congratulate one another on the effort and improvement.
I know it’s not politically correct right now, but it’s okay to get better – to want to get better. It’s okay to improve. Your health, your relationships, your talents, your interests, your work. At whatever it is you’re doing, it’s okay to work hard and get better. You were made to work hard, and there are times to go alone and go fast, but there are also times that you need someone’s help to go further. Being stuck doesn’t mean you’ve reached the end.
Go, be kind. Have a great weekend.