The Tortoise and the Hare: Celebrating different running styles

Photo by Jeffrey Oyler / photo illustration and logo by Melissa Oyler Designs
Photography by Jeffrey Oyler and photo illustration and logo designed by Melissa Oyler Designs

(We think this image sums us up perfectly. Quinn is geared up with her nervous smile and game face on. I’m pretty sure she said “let’s go!” right before these picture were taken. And I’m just chillin at the top of the steps pretending like I’m NOT about to go run for more than 4 hours.)



tortoise_and_hare_logoIf you know us, you probably know that my friend Quinn and I make unlikely running buddies. She grew up quite the athlete, notably a soccer player, where she got to put her speed work to the test often on the field. I grew up coming up with any excuse I could to get out of gym class (I didn’t want to get sweaty. True story.) In my 20s I discovered running, slowly but surely, but I would call myself a weekend warrior at best – a 10-minute-miler. I grew in my running from 5Ks to marathons, loving the experience but never thinking of myself as speedy. Quinn never considered herself a runner — she was a yogi, a circuit trainer, a soccer player … but running was her sports’ punishment.

Then we found each other and it was a game-changer. I taught her to enjoy running, by taking the stress off of the pace and focusing on putting miles in. And in turn, she taught me how to push my speed, that I could actually train myself to be faster. 10-minute miles turned into 9-minutes, then sometimes 8:30s and every once in a while I can push out an 8:15.

As for distance, Quinn told me once she would never run a marathon, and I told her fair enough; she didn’t have to run one, all she had to do is train with me. And, as I suspected, after a few of those long runs, she signed up … and nailed it. That’s the same year I shaved 5 minutes off of my marathon PR, thanks to her pushing me!

We both performed faster and longer runs than we thought possible.

And yet, as we’ve helped each other, we’ve also celebrated our differences. In fact, we decided we wanted to share those differences with you. Maybe you’ll see your runner self in me, or maybe you identify with Quinn’s running style. Maybe you offer a third perspective that can help us both.

So we’ve created a new web series called The Tortoise & The Hare: Unlikely run buddies since 2013. In this, we’ll be posting occasionally about running-related topics. Call it Point/Counterpoint. Tortoise/Hare. We have different perspectives on some things, and similar on others (I mean, we both love hot yoga and Athleta, so how different can we really be?)

Make sure to check out Quinn’s blog here. Also, want to run Charlotte Marathon with us? Quinn is running the half, and I’ll probably torture myself with the full again (marathon #4!). If you want to run it, sign up here and use the code quinnrey.