It was the ideal partnership. I was training for a marathon and was looking to better my speed. He was training for shorter distances but was looking to increase endurance. When we ran, I forced him to go further than he was accustomed. To return the favor, he pushed me to run faster than I was used to. Our desired running goals helped us to simultaneously make each other better runners.
Many times the only convenient time to run was prior to school – when it was still dark, cold, and painfully early. Yet, our accountability to one another proved a valuable asset. On more than one occasion when I heard my alarm going off at 5.00am, I wanted to hit the snooze button and keep sleeping. But I knew I would not only be skipping out on my run, I would be skipping out on my partner. Virtually everyone else would never know I skipped a run, but he would, and therefore I crawled out of bed.
Yet, the running partnership went so much deeper than posting better times on our respective races. We established a great ‘runner’s vault.’ As we were running questions were asked and hearts were opened. I would tell him what I was truly thinking, or feeling about a particular situation. No hiding. No filter. We would talk about deeper aspects of life that come as a result of the freedom you feel on the running trail.
At the end of that chapter of our lives, we headed in different directions. I was thankful for a partner and thankful for the opportunity to share many runs together. What I wasn’t expecting was how he thanked me. He said, “It meant so much that you trusted me with a running vault. The fact that you trusted me made me feel valued and important. It made me feel appreciated and significant.”
At the end of each run, we were making each other better runners, but also making each other better people.