Sunday, September 02, 2012

My Summer Vacation: Running with Dani

Of all of the new things I got to do on my summer vacation, meeting-- and running with-- Dani was definitely the highlight.

We wanted a pic in our running gear,
but sadly we didn't get to run on my last day in town,
which was when we had planned to take
a goodbye photo.

How I met Dani has a little bit of a back story. Being that I was in marathon training, I was lamenting heading on (what was supposd to be) a four week vacation away from home and, most importantly, my running buddies. I wondered if there was any way I could find a running buddy in MI. And not just any running buddy, I wanted the holy grail of running buddies: one who was also a mother. I did some  googling for bloggers local to where I was going to be in MI and nothing turned up. Then one day Another Mother Runner posted a blog post about Heather, aka Michigan Runner Girl. It took me about two seconds to email her and ask if she happened to have any connection at all to other mother runners near where I would be staying. As luck would have it, Heather was super sweet and more than happy to help. She put out the call on her facebook page and Dani responded to her. Heather connected Dani and I, and as they say, the rest was history. 

We exchanged some emails over the following weeks, getting to know each other a bit before we met. It turned out that Dani and I were both training for our first marathons, which were both scheduled for the same day, October 7th. 

I met Dani early one morning at her house so she could take me for a five mile run. She was immediately friendly and welcoming and I felt like we became instant friends. The run that morning took us down a paved roadside path and then on to the beach along Lake Michigan. We then ran along a winding wooden boardwalk over the dunes before heading up a mountain of stairs then along a wide, groomed trail through the woods (where wild turkeys crossed our path!) and back to the paved path along the road, ending back at Dani's house. It was the most beautiful run I had been on in a long time and despite running with someone I essentially just met, I was at ease and comfortable the whole time. 

Later that week I joined Dani at a bootcamp class lead by her friend. The class was held on the same beach, trails and boardwalk that we had run on that first meeting. Bootcamp seriously kicked my behind, but it was a ton of fun, as everyone was so kind and hilarious. 

Dani and I did a few more runs over the next two weeks and I joined her at one more bootcamp. I was so excited to get my runs up to seven miles during my time there, but unfortunately my IT band pain returned and I was back down to running 4-5 miles by the end.

If there is one thing that you need to know about Dani it's that she is a badass runner. Seriously. Girl was working through a tough training program for her first marathon and really helped me push myself on my runs with her. She ran fast and never once seemed to struggle even when I joined her many miles in to her long training runs.  

My time running with Dani really helped me see that, sadly, this fall just wasn't going to be my time to run my first marathon. I was inspired by her to run strong, to run hard, to tackle an aggressive training program and not just hobble my way through training with an injury only to get to the start line of the marathon crossing my fingers that I could even make it all 26.2 miles. No, I want kick ass at my first marathon-- just like I am sure Dani will do at hers. 

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