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Renewing friendships over six miles of hills

This week brought me to North Carolina for a bit of spring vacation. In the western part of the state, I'm visiting family along with my dad while the second half of the week takes me to Chapel Hill and a conference on college sports.

So what's a training triathlete to do?

Have run camp of course.

My coach is gloriously flexible with scheduling training around your life and so this week is completely focused on my running, which, after all, isn't so outrageous with the Buffalo Marathon about six weeks away now.

Monday was a simple recovery day from the Cats Half Marathon I ran on Saturday. Nothing but a 45-minute brisk walk. And it's really hard to keep yourself to a brisk walk when you've become used to running. But the movement felt good and all pain I had in my ankles and knees was gone.

Tuesday brought with it an hour-long easy-paced run and I convinced my friend, Scott, to join me so that (a) I could have company and (b) have help finding a relatively flat route in the Smokey Mountains.

Scott and I went to college together and he has become a rather strong cyclist. (At his house, he showed me a picture he had taken with Bob Roll. I thought that was way cool. His wife was happy he could show it to someone who thought so.) He has gotten into running in recent years and is looking for some duathlons to train for.

So we went out on our hour run and the first mile -- was all up hill.

Thanks Scott!

Actually, after that first climb, the rest of the route was beautiful with very gentle rolling hills. I was able to hold my easy pace for the majority of the run with the blips on uphills canceled out by the momentum of the downhill.

While the run itself was wonder -- good road, beautiful scenery, sunshine and temperatures in the 50s -- it was even better to chat and catch up with a friend.

Funny how running not only has brought me new friends back home, but reconnected me to old friends -- some of whom I would never have guessed would be running or cycling or entering triathlons.

I felt great after we knocked out six miles (even better since that final mile was all down hill!) and a little bit stronger for the run and the renewed friendship.

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