Silence Is Golden by Desi Davila - RunningTimes

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Sep 20th 2012, 8:26pm | 2063 views

Running Buddies
The lonely long-distance runner is a myth.

As featured in the October 2012 issue of Running Times Magazine

"It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox."

--Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

In the desert, a training partner is a must: a companion to get you out the door, to brave the heat and log mile after mile, day after day, year after year. A 5:15 a.m. morning run does not happen without another crazy and willing party to hold you accountable. Yet, at such an early hour, the right training partner is key. If you are too chipper at 5:15 a.m., you are likely to fall victim to a hotter-than-normal pace that takes your breath, along with your cheeriness, right away. Too much of a grump is just as bad, and the car just might accidentally leave you and your bad mood behind. No one wants to start their day with the negative energy of a contagious bad mood.

My Arizona State teammate Amy Hastings and I found our perfect formula. Less is more, we learned. Not much was said at the early hour--we ran with the sunrise and more often than not we were lost in our personal reverie. We enjoyed the time in our own head, our footsteps and breath often syncing up, and the red rocks of South Mountain rhythmically crunching under our feet. The silence truly was golden. There was an unspoken agreement--we didn't have to entertain each other on the run, not at that hour. We could simply enjoy the moment and the silent company with which we shared it. However, if you were going to break the sacred silence, it had better be damn good. We could only have deep conversation at such a time, and oddly enough, we found, much like our footsteps, our thoughts were often in sync.

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