This weekend, I ran one of my favorite 10 mile routes, as I often do.
But it's been a minute since I've run it alone.
It was 20 degrees when I set out for my run, with wind hard enough to tear a runner in spandex apart, which means not a single soul but mine was out on the trail with me.
Usually, I love to run long with friends, but I've discovered that sometimes I need the time just to myself.
Running with friends means chatting and laughing during the run and having coffee and great conversation afterward.
Running alone means settling into myself.
For 10 cold miles, I had no one but myself to keep for company.
All of my flaws and quirks come out when I'm running alone, but instead of trying to mash them into something else, I let them be.
Running alone means letting my mind write in my head, or fist pump along to a song, or silently count how many strides it takes me to run a mile: Whatever it is I'm doing while I'm running alone I am doing it for no one else.
It is selfish in a way, stealing those hours for myself and not letting anyone else see.
But the selfish runs are the ones where I get work done: Where my pace is at it's best, where I can write entire pages in my head, where I think about how I can't wait to have that hot cup of coffee with my family and listen as my toddler tells me his grand plans for the day.
I love running with friends -- more than I can express. But there, in those lonely miles all to myself, that's when I discover what I'm made of.