When I married my husband and became a military spouse, I left behind a whole network of friends and exercise buddies. I was so lost without them.  I no longer had my 5am running buddy. Those dark and early mornings were filled with such beautiful conversations about life.  With each mile, whatever was stressing us out somehow felt better. We pushed each other, sweated it out together, and formed a friendship in the process.

In the military world, goodbyes are frequent and hardly anything is permanent. That constant movement makes it hard to find friends.  It took a year of attending fitness groups and events around our duty station to find another running buddy.  This lady embraced me and my family immediately. She is small but so fierce and mighty.  The strength she possesses illuminates in everything she does. She builds up others and has the most fun-loving spirit. We embarked on a journey this year and trained for a half marathon. Each week’s run ended with celebratory high fives and hugs.  She was a pro at long distance running, but this was all new to me.  When I didn’t think I could go any further, she pushed me on. Then, on race day, we braved the 30 something degree weather and ran the half marathon side by side.  I knew she could’ve ran faster, but she stayed beside me the entire time. This friend, my running bestie, is embarking on her own adventure now, as she sets sail to a new duty station assigned by the military. It is definitely one of my hardest goodbyes thus far in military life.

As you get older, good friends are truly hard to find.  It’s especially hard to find friends who value exercise the same way that you do.  Once you do find a new friend, who also happens to be a runner, it’s a true bond like no other.  The friendship of running buddies blossoms differently than others. That’s what makes saying goodbye to your running buddy feel like you’ve lost a best friend-because in many ways you have.

Below are five reasons why it is extremely painful saying goodbye to your running bestie.

1-Your friendship goes the extra mile-literally.

You go the distance together and then some.  You cheer each other on and push each other to do your best.  There is nothing a good run together cannot fix and you both know that’s true.

2-You push each other in ways that carries into other areas of life

Running buddies know each other’s limits, and they strive to push through them together. This strength and endurance easily spills over into other areas of life. The after effect is a sense of empowerment to surpass other obstacles in life.

3-Endless talks during the mileage.

The rise of the digital age has made it near impossible to carry on a meaningful conversation in person. Running buddies put technology aside and actually talk. Whether out of breath or not, you talk about some deep stuff when you run with a friend.  This time and openness brings about a friendship built on the fundamental simplicities of being present in that moment, listening to each other, and providing comfort along the running journey.

4-The unshakeable bond that forms.

There’s something to be said about sweating it out for hours with a friend. The talks, the laughs, the memories, the mileage, the sweat, and the celebratory high fives and hugs equate to one thing-a meaningful friendship that embodies everlasting strength.

5-You give each other something so very valuable-time.

The time you invest in a friendship is important.  It’s not always easy to build friendships when you get older, because time is not something that is always available. I definitely believe the quote that “you make time for those who are important to you.” Running buddies carve out time for each other.  They have a common goal and friendship is a huge part of that.

If you are saying goodbye to your running buddy, cherish the moments and memories.  Hug your friend tight and have a good cry.  God blesses us with the people he puts in our paths, and a running bestie is just that. Be forever grateful for the long distance runs, the scenery experienced, the conversations, and most importantly the friendship that evolved from running together. My running bestie gave me strength and confidence again, when miscarriage and loss had ripped it out of me previously. She encouraged me to push myself physically and mentally farther than I have ever gone. This woman, my running buddy, is the friend we all wish for and one I’ll never forget.

© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2018.