Q&A between training partners

Times/Review Newsgroup sports reporter Jake Williams is training to compete in the Long Island Half Marathon. This is another installment in a series of articles about his quest.

Without my wife, Miriam, I would not be training to run in the May 2 Long Island Half Marathon. Being in it together has made training more fun, and her discipline and work ethic motivates me to continue.

This week we took a moment to explore this partnership, and interviewed each other for this column. I have condensed the questions and answers to fit the space.

Miriam: What’s it like training with me?

Me: Sometimes I want to go at my own pace. But I don’t think I could have done anywhere near as much with training or committing myself to do it without training with you. There were times when I wanted to guide you through your run and make sure you could make it through. When you did your first 11-mile run, I was just blown away. I was so impressed and happy and proud of you. When we did our most recent run, of 12 miles, I was just amazed and so thrilled to see how much stronger you had become. You set the pace. It was incredible to watch. It’s been so great to have this to share. It’s brought us closer together. If I get to the finish line first, I’ll make sure to be the loudest one cheering for you coming in.

Miriam: What run for you was the mental shift between running casually and training?

Me: I got on a treadmill with a 100-minute time limit. I was just going to keep running. I got to six miles, which is usually about where I stop. I kept going. The farthest I’ve gone recently is seven. Let’s see if I can get to that. Every time I got another quarter-mile, I thought I can do another, and another. I got to eight, then I wanted to do nine. Nine miles is the farthest I’ve ever run. I want to see if I can do that. Finally I got to 9.5 miles, and I was spent. I was completely exhausted. But I think I had proven to myself that physically I was capable of a lot more than I thought I could do.

Miriam: Favorite song to run to?

Me: Anything from “Rocky.” It gets my adrenaline pumping. It’s the same feeling I would get from watching the movie, that I wanted to go out and kick butt.

Miriam: Dream post-run pig-out?

Me: Steak or fried chicken, french fries and a huge hunk of carrot cake.

Me: What’s it been like having the structure of training?

Miriam: The structure is so helpful. Otherwise I wouldn’t know what to do. I love having the goal that I’m working toward. The minute I started my first training run, I felt: I’m training for a half marathon.

There have been things I’ve seen I would never have experienced. I was in Los Angeles on an 11-mile training run along the beach when I saw two dolphins swimming in the Pacific Ocean. I realized I would have never seen that if I didn’t push myself that much farther and if I weren’t going through this in the first place. It was just this really beautiful moment.

Me: What’s it feel like each time you run a distance for the first time?

Miriam: It’s weird to wake up every Saturday and realize you’re going to try, and most likely accomplish, something you’ve never done before. It’s empowering. To understand and to realize that you can accomplish something like that gives you inner strength.

Me: What’s it been like running with me?

Miriam: The things that I love about you as a person come through when we’re running. You suppress your speed to run at my pace because you know I need someone there to push me. It’s very kind and giving of you.

I think you’re really driven to push yourself physically and it’s very impressive. I’m proud of you. I think it’s strengthened our bond. We’ve grown closer as a couple because we’ve shared it together. It’s been really satisfying. I know I couldn’t do it without your support.

Me: What have you gotten out of running?

Miriam: The minute I started running, I felt leaner and stronger. I just like to run. I love the feeling of accomplishment and the camaraderie.

Me: How do you run without music?

Miriam: I sing to myself. I kept singing “Eye of the Tiger” in my head. I’ve sort of become my own iPod.

Me: Dream post-race meal?

Miriam: An enormous piece of carrot cake, with brown sugar sprinkled on top. And maybe a filet mignon.

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