We’ve heard it before. No Man is an island. No woman is an island either, at least I’m pretty sure. Everyone needs somebody.

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We need support networks to keep us going. Without someone who understands our position, who truly wants the best for us and is able to vocalize that support, it is so much easier for us to fail. Not FAIL as in pass/fail, but fail as in quit, continue trying, lose desire to continue.

Any single person can grind their teeth and grit out a training run, or even *gasp* a long run on the treadmill (the horror!) But, the benefits and successes of running, as any successful runner or athlete can tell you, come from the day-in-day-out training. Determination. Grit.

You might be able to tough out one day, maybe a week, maybe a month. But unless you have a support network of friends and family, or a running partner who pushes you to get out of bed and put in some morning miles, chances aren’t great you will still be running a year from now.

Running is an island. Many days, it is done alone, in the cold, the wind, the high heat, the humidity. A marathon itself, a pinnacle of the sport, tis a 3+ hour exercise in mental toughness. In the elements. Just you.

Your support network is a canoe. Your friends, family, or running partners keep you afloat when you get swept out to sea. My wife goes with me to races and acts as a HQ for me running — she holds my stuff, takes pictures, often drives me so I can sleep on the way back. She keeps me above water. I couldn’t keep sane during races knowing I started alone, have to finish alone, and drive back alone. Her presence pushes me to finish.

I try not to take that for granted. She surely doesn’t have to be out there. But she is, because she wants to share in something that makes me happy.

We all have canoes. I encourage all of you to think about who your canoes are, put a name to it. And then spend the next week running off their encouragement, not just your own dedication and grit.

And most importantly, let others be your canoe. We need all the help we get, when we spend so much time on an island.

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