Most of the year, I train virtually with my cousin Nick, who lives in North Carolina. It suits me fine–he’s a much better runner with a higher pain tolerance than I have. But from time to time we get to run together, and it’s awesome, reminding me that this sport that I generally prefer to do in isolation has a whole other side when it’s done with someone else there to push and encourage you.
We got a couple of good runs in together this summer in Maine–including one 14-mile beauty along the carriage trails of Acadia National Park. But while that run was iconically gorgeous, I find that the one that sticks in my memory is a run we took together a few days later, when we were looking for 10 miles on an island with only about 7 miles of road. We covered every inch of those roads, sometimes more than once, sometimes running where there was neither road nor trail, and we kept pushing ourselves harder and harder until the penultimate mile, when we were going all-out past the summer cottages and lobstermans’ sheds of our little town, shocking tourists out for a stroll with our grunting and cursing.