Not Running With the Pack

I’ve got a dedicated runner friend who asks me every spring if I’m training for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

The answer varies. Some years I’ll get started at application time in March and other times April and even May have passed before I begin training. And by training I mean putting on running shoes and using them.

I can’t imagine it would be much fun for my friend to run a slower three miles just for the pleasure of my company for 30 minutes or so. It definitely wouldn’t be fun for me to try to keep up with his usual pace.

But I understand why people run in pairs or packs. If you run with someone a little faster that can help push you to do a little better than you thought you could. That’s how it worked for me in 1979, when I finished with my best time ever.

I’ve mentioned my friend Kathy (in the photo) a couple of times in earlier blogs. We ran three Peachtrees in the early 2000s. For our first Peachtree, we started training in January. That was the last time before this year that I really prepared for the race.

Kathy’s knees were a constant ache, during both training and on July 4th. As a result, she was the only running partner I’ve had that I held back for. She often urged me to run ahead, but I wasn’t that interested in taxing myself anyway. And someone had to stop long enough to take some photos.

I’ve had a couple of offers from friends this spring to join them in runs. One wanted to run four miles to Turner Field and then take in a Braves game. I’m sure the fans in the adjacent seats would appreciate that.

Commenting on an earlier post, my friend Dan challenged me to a three-mile race through Candler Park. He’s the dedicated runner friend. We’ll “race” the day he agrees to the handicap of pulling my friend Kathy in a rickshaw.

I’ve run a lot of miles over the years, including about 124 in the last 20 Peachtrees. Almost always I’m on my own. Twenty times I’ve had 54,999 running partners.

Are you a social runner? Or do you prefer to keep the sweat and sprains to yourself?

7 comments Add your comment

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dan chapman

May 27th, 2010
10:11 am

We’re on — bring on the rickshaw….


May 27th, 2010
6:58 pm

I’m both. It depends on if I feel like just running or if I’m in the mood to bust one wide open. But Candler Park is my hood so when y’all race, let me know. I’ll join you.


May 27th, 2010
10:27 pm

I like being with friends before and after a race. But, I much rather be on my own during the race. And I always train on my own. I use my runs as a stress reliever and like to have the entire time to myself.

Gen Neyland

May 28th, 2010
7:08 am

I train alone. Whether one trains alone or with a partner or group, come 04JUL, you have no choice in the matter unless you’re in clean air and looking over your shoulder. Hint : That person won’t be me…

Beth Ali

June 11th, 2010
9:21 pm

This will be my 2nd Peachtree, so I am by far a very inexperienced runner, but I have found that I train best with the majority of my runs during the week are solo and usually 3-4 miles each, with one 6 mile a week, usually with one or more of my friends. Last year I started the peachtree with my friends, but quickly was separated. I don’t plan on “having” to stay with my friends, but if our pace stays together I wont fight hanging with them either!!


June 12th, 2010
7:05 am

Typically, I jog from Lenox Road to Piedmont Park three times per week. Then I walk to the MARTA Arts Station behind High Museum for a cool MARTA ride back to the MARTA stop at Lenox and a walk home.

I train alone and run alone. Not because I am anti-social but out of necessity. I am out the door around 5:00 a.m. to take advantage of the cool, crisp morning air and lack of traffic on Peachtree Road at that hour. Also, at 64 years old, I doubt too many would want to run (jog) at my pace of 12-13 minutes miles and stops for nature breaks at the Peachtree Battle Starbucks . Of course, to rehydrate, I have an iced coffee before I head up Cardiac Hill.

Finally, I can’t regulate my breathing if talking while jogging for an easier, more pleasurable jog.

This year, my wife started a walking program to overcome Fibromyalgia. She enjoys it and it has made a difference. She said she would like to walk the Peachtree but didn’t want to do it alone. ALhtough this will be my 7th Peachtree, I have decided to walk it with her rahter than run it alone.

See, you can teach old dogs new tricks.