It started out as a fundraising mission; it ended as a personal accomplishment. Rhonda coined the mission:  March for Babies, Run for Dimes.  That hit me in the heart.  Our children were born 7 weeks early; our water broke weeks before they were born, we each spent over a month in the hospital without our families.  The March of Dimes is close to our hearts.  I remember hearing Rhonda’s idea.  I said “wow!  That is a lot of miles” but, within a week, I was thinking about doing it myself.
Let me start by saying, before this, I really didn’t see myself as a runner.   Seriously, I run to loose weight.  Not what an avid runner would say; but for me, I reserved it for fitness plateaus.  But, this experience has changed my life.  I now see running as something I want to do, need to do, and have to do.
The comradery, mental, and physical bonding that Rhonda and I went through will bond us for life.  We don’t even live near each other.  About 7 hours separate us, but we blogged about each training run, cheered each other on, and were there when one of us needed a pep talk or motivation.  In the end, we carried each other over the 13.1 mile finish line!  Just knowing that someone else was doing it with you, rooting you on and being a shoulder to cry on, made it doable.  It changed me from a watcher to a runner.  Rhonda says I could have done it faster without her, I disagree.  Without her, I wouldn’t have done it period.
 This was a grueling experience.  We trained for months for a single day race.  But the day of the race was so physically and emotionally fulfilling, I could do it again tomorrow.  (Well, not tomorrow…I am still hurting a little)  Seeing an 88 year-old man finish, a woman proclaiming this was on her “bucket list” with a finishing medal around her neck, hearing a daddy calling his kids on the phonesaying he was done, finishing in 2 hours, makes me HAVE to do it again.
 Rhonda and I are planning a fall winery race, a half marathon around the shoreof Lake Michigan with a “Wino-Wagon” tour on Sunday.   www.park2parkrace.com (We get the whole thing to ourselves with 12 if any other crazy mother runners want to join us)
Christi summed it all up very well.  It started out as a waa to raise money for the March of Dimes and ended up being so much more than just some money to put towards our March for Babies teams.
I’ve run off and on for years but nothing more than a 5K here and there.  I started training for a half marathon several years ago but life just got in the way and I didn’t have a training partner, so it never happened.

As soon as I had Mallory a year ago I knew I wanted to get back into running….after having to sit on my butt in a hospital room for 7 long, but grateful for them, weeks before Mallory was born (and Christi went through the exact same thing) running was all I could think about.  Actually, just walking down the hall would have been nice, but running is what I wanted again.

I, like Christi, did the Couch 2 5K program last summer to get me moving again and did 2 5K’s last fall.  But, I wanted more.  I found a half marathon in April and decided to go for it.  Before official training started I had the idea one night while pounding away on the “dread”mill, as I like to call it, that to keep me motivated to actually finish training this time, I’d tell the world I was doing this and the idea of “March for Babies, Run for Dimes” came to me.  I’d have people sponsor me a dime or two for every mile that I ran to train for half that would go to the March of Dimes.  I figured if people were paying me to finish it, it would provide extra motivation to actually finish it, and it was for such a good cause!
When I shared this with others, that’s when Christi piped up and said I think I want to do this too, and do it with you!  I’m pretty sure her husband thought she was nuts.  You are going to “train” with someone 400 miles away from you who you’ve never met before and then drive 7 hours to run this race with her?  Yeppers, that’s exactly what happened, and I’m so happy it did and eternally grateful that she decided to join me in this trek.
We opted to use the Hal Higdon Novice Half Marathon training plan and that worked well for both of us and then we both blogged about our training.  Running 3 days a week is totally doable and although I’m still not speedy, finishing was our goal and this training plan got us to that point.  Was is easy, no, was it one of the greatest feelings in the world to finish, with an amazing friend by your side, yes.  Tears and all at the finish line.
Training for any race is so much better when you can do it with someone, even if that someone is 400 miles away, the motivation you gain from each other is priceless.  I know I was able to help motivate Christi when she thought an injury was going to take her out of training and she helped me on race day to get to the finish line.  I think we both gave so much to the other that it was a really good balance and I’m now looking forward to our next half that Christi mentioned above.
A couple of our favorite running mantras were:  “Run till it hurts, Drink till it doesn’t” and “Do it for the babies.”
Together we accomplished something that we are both very proud of and forged an amazing friendship at the same time.  I will never forget it! 
So, get out there and find you a training partner, near or far, because you can totally do this!!
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One Response to Guest Post: Rhonda and Christi on Training Partners!

  1. BabyKevinMom says:

    So proud of you ladies!!

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