February 21 2018
Karen Lyons started running to escape hardship–and couldn’t stop.
Behind my computer screen, I am Queen of the World. Fearless, confident and full of ideas to share with my run-loving virtual friends. But in real-life I sometimes still struggle to feel like I fit-in with the community that I adore (even though I know I AM a runner!). Don’t get me wrong – I love meeting new run girlfriends (and often wish I had more), but my current living situation has my husband and I settled about 30 minutes away from an organized run club and that distance doesn’t usually jive with my busy work schedule. And though I love my social media connections, I sometimes crave a good gab with a girlfriend who enjoys running as much as I do.
As a surprise for my 35th birthday, my husband planned a trip to Park City, Utah for a long weekend in the mountains. Not only was I completely thrilled to get away for a few days, but I was also psyched to finally meet one of my virtual run-buddies who lives in Utah!
Almost two years ago I stumbled across a popular blog (hungryrunnergirl.com), featuring the daily musings of a speedy run girl named Janae. I instantly fell in love with Janae’s bubbly spirit and constant drive to run. A few weeks after following her blog, I reached out to Janae to feature her as a Women’s Running Blogger On The Run. What began with a quick email exchange ended up blooming into a fun friendship and over the past two years we’ve corresponded periodically as I followed her journey to chase down a sub-3 hour marathon goal!
I’ll admit I was a little nervous to finally meet my e-buddy in person (afterall – she’s a speedy girl and I’m a middle-of-the-packer). Would I be able to really talk her fast-girl language? Or would she be disappointed that I don’t “look” like a runner? Even though I knew both of these doubts were ridiculous, they still crossed my mind as I reverted to a silly meeting-new-friends-on-the-playground mentality.
It took all of 20 seconds of our face-to-race meeting to feel at ease. The floodgates of girl talk flew wide open and there was no closing them. From nutrition recommendations to gear talk and training tips, I’m not sure we stopped gabbing for a full 4 hours. As we peppered each other with questions, it hit me that she wanted my advice as much as I wanted hers. Speed and pace didn’t matter. We were just two girlfriends sharing our love and experience of running to help one another.
Saying good-bye to my friend after a fun night full of run chatter left me feeling refreshed and inspired. Connecting with another runner, sharing tales from the trails, and contributing tips I’ve learned along the way renewed my love of running.
Though I can’t run with Janae often (the distance between Utah and Florida makes that tough), my friendship with her inspired me to branch out. Our night of girl talk reminded me how awesome run girls really are. And all of the sudden, that 30-minute commute to join a run club, doesn’t seem so long afterall.