One of the toughest parts about being single is feeling like you don't have someone special to share life's ups and downs with. I've learned that that's simply not true. Even as we're literally running up and down hills, we can share a sweaty moment of heavy breathing and excitement with a loved one!
On Sunday, I'll run my third and final marathon: The Denver Rock'n'Roll. This year the plan is to run with my neighbor, Bonnie, but we got separated in the first 5 minutes of the half-marathon we did in August, so I need a backup plan. (If I have to run 26.2 miles by myself, I will go crazy.)
Five years ago, when I ran the DisneyWorld marathon, I implemented a very successful Virtual Running Buddy program. I got lots of friends and family to call and cheer me on throughout the race. I even wrote an article about it for Colorado Runner!
After the race, I wrote a blog post, Single, But Not Alone. I was filled with happiness at getting so many calls and having had the ability to share the excitement of the marathon with friends. So, I decided to repeat the program. If I don't get separated from Bonnie, I'll let the calls go to voicemail, but whether it's in the moment or on a voicemail, it will be wonderful to hear the voices of my friends as they cheer me on.
I dug out my email from 5 years ago and was reminded of the fun I had in planning this. Here were my suggestions on how to be a good Virtual Running Buddy:
#1 Cheer the runner on! Example: You can do it! You're almost there!
#2 Ask the runner how far she is / what she's experiencing, etc. If she says "pain" gently remind her that this was her choice to run, and then go to a different Talking Point.
#3 Tell the runner what you are doing. Be very descriptive. Answer any questions she has for you giving, long drawn-out answers to make the time go by.
#4 Entertain the runner with jokes, songs, silly stories, anecdotes, poems, riddles, games etc.
#5 Boost the runner's ego by telling her lots of wonderful things that she likes to hear.
#6 Tell the runner all about your favorite hobby or interest.
#7 Get the runner's adrenaline going by starting a debate about a controversial hot button.
#8 Come up with something creative to say during your allotted time slot.
#9 Tell the runner one of your most private secrets.
#10 Ask the runner for advice on a problem you're experiencing, and realize she will be thinking about it and giving you thoughtful advice the next time she talks to you.
#11 Play some kind of little game like 20 questions with the runner.
#12 Read or say something "juicy."
or.....anything you want to talk about for 5 minutes!
* Call at your appointed time and be aware of when the next caller is scheduled.
* Be energetic and entertaining.
* Expect the runner to be too talkative, especially in the second half of the race.
* Hang up on the runner without saying goodbye.
* Go to sleep, watch TV, or be otherwise distracted.
* Burp, fart, or go to the bathroom while talking to the runner.