Sole Mates

me in Sandy's skirt pic
I used to keep running to myself.

I tell people that I have been running a million years. Of course, I have not. I am only 51 years old. Yes, that is true. I do not mind telling people my age. I am the self-proclaimed poster child for the 50 plus fabulous.

My first foray into running was when I joined Army ROTC in college. I was pitiful. My father, a former drill sergeant would go out with me and sing cadence to help me along. I was really really bad. I was still running two miles by the time he finished four. I was not sure I could ever pass a physical fitness test. With a lot of hard work, I did. I was eventually able to run my two miles in the required time period.

Then came the hard part; most of Army running life is done in formation. I had to keep a certain pace in order not to ‘fall out’ of a run and get put on remedial training. That was not easy and I ‘fell out’ more times than I want to admit. I swore that after I left the military I would never run with a group or even another person again. I wanted to run my own pace without the pressure of having to keep up with someone else. I wanted to be able to sing cadence to myself and not have to deal with anything I did not want to deal with. Yup, that was the plan and it was the plan for many, many years.

Until I found my sole mate.

Until I found my solemate, Yvonne.

Today, I run with groups of people, but more astonishingly, I have a sole mate. Yvonne and I generally run the same pace. We have the same attitudes about most things. We love to run at 5 a.m., we do yoga, and we are both high achievers. To my surprise, I enjoy it. I don’t worry about pace. I don’t worry about singing off key because she sings just a badly I as I do.

We trade tips about shoes, bras, nutrition, training plans, restaurants, and we love discussing political topics. It is almost like running with myself, only better because she has slightly different thoughts and is willing to provide advice when warranted. She is the only person who can talk me into running at 4:30 a.m. or into running another marathon (which is the only reason I am running the Marine Corps Marathon for the second time).

Yvonne and me at divas
A sole mate makes every running accomplishment that much sweeter.

A bit of the beauty of having your own running sole mate:

  • Safety: I worry about twisting an ankle or falling and hitting my head. Yes, that might be a bit extreme but we always think that things like that happen to other people.
  • Girlfriend Time: It is a great way to catch up on life without adding calories. Of course you can add the calories AFTER running.
  • Goals: It can be easier to meet your fitness goals with a partner.
  • Expenses: You can split the cost of a hotel room, gas, and other traveling expenses when you race out of town.
  • Sympathy: Your sole mate will understand it when your hamstrings are tight, shorts ride up, or you just don’t feel like running.
  • Pusher: Your sole mate will push you to do your best even when you don’t want to.

Every now and then I do sneak in a solo run, but I have to admit that sometimes it feels like I’m cheating on her.


Do you have a sole mate? Tell us about her (or him!)

I eat miles for breakfast, or occasionally for a snack later in the day. Self proclaimed 50+ and fabulous poster child, US Army vet, college professor, avid runner, yoga enthusiast, guest columnist, and I've used Olay since I was 17 so they should use me in at least one of their ads!

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  1. I wish I had a sole mate! I’ve been searching high and low for the right running buddy for years, but distance is usually the eliminating factor. One day, maybe, but for now I’m mostly on my own. Luckily I have a whole bunch of buddies to hash with, at least!

  2. Are there any running groups in your area? If there is, you might be able to find one that way. It is great that you have buddies to hash with. I ran by myself for many for the same reason that you mention, distance. I am glad to have found someone with similar running interests. Keep looking, it will happen.

  3. I have a running club full of sole mates :). That’s what I love about being in a running club- yeah, we have some people who are a lot faster than me, some who are a lot slower. But honestly, we all push each other and that’s what matters. Everyone in the group has improved and that’s what we’re going for. Be *your* best not “the best”. Plus if someone PRs or wins an age group award or something you all share in their victory bc you helped the other person get there.

    Plus… running with a partner and accountability is awesome! Keeps you going, getting up early to run, and you usually run longer with someone else.

  4. My husband is my running partner, it’s nice to have someone to run with and we motivate each other to run when the other doesn’t feel like it. I think finding a running mate is important! I couldn’t imagine running by myself all the time!

    1. That’s great! My husband and I occasionally get a sitter to go on a running date. Such a great way to spend time together!