The end of the workday is in sight, and Croom’s 15 mile trail race is almost here!  We’re driving to Brooksville, Florida this afternoon.  I’ll be blogging from the hotel – can’t wait to show you what our race shirts look like.  They were so cute last year!


Lunch was fast because I still have a ton of work to do before I can leave town without a care in the world.


I had a Morningstar veggie burger (the black bean flavor) with sprouts and ketchup.




And chips and salsa:


And a pickle and some OJ!


The Runner’s Promise


Tomorrow’s race will be my 22nd race!  I have run many races for TIME…


And other races for FUN…


These two things are mutually exclusive to me because:


  • I am way too Type A to set a time goal and not run my little heart out  trying to reach it.
  • If I’m running for fun, I’m usually running with friends.  Because I’m pacing with other people, I’m typically not giving it my all ALL the time.  So in my eyes, a “fun” run does not normally equal a new personal record (PRs).  
  • I’ve run too many races to set PRs without trying really hard.  When I first started, I ran a few races for fun with friends and set time records.


Have you ever made the “Runner’s Promise”?  You know, you sign up for a 5K or a Half Marathon or whatever, and your friend decides to do it, too, so then you vow to stick together?  That’s the Runner’s Promise.


The Runner’s Promise can be AWESOME.  My BFF Lauren and I promised to stick together during our marathon, and we each hit walls at different times.  Having a friend to help me through the last 3.0 miles was crucial!  And I loved encouraging Lauren when she needed help, too.


In my opinion, the Runner’s Promise only works under certain circumstances (for me):


  • I am running a new distance and really don’t care about my time OR
  • I know I can’t set a PR for that distance at the current time OR
  • My friend runs at basically the same pace as I do OR
  • I signed up for the race purely to do it with friends and have fun!


Runner’s Promise can go really wrong if you don’t discuss the conditions under which you will ditch the other person or feel comfortable being left.  For example, if I stopped running at mile 15 during the marathon and insisted on walking the rest of the way, I would have WANTED Lauren to run on without me.  Other necessary times to break the runner’s promise include tummy troubles or injuries.


Of course, sometimes your partner ends up being WAY faster than you, too!  I’ve tried to keep up with friends during fast races and totally burnt out.


Tomorrow’s race is a ‘with friends and for fun’ event.  We raced it last year together, and we plan to stick together again this year!  Croom’s is more about being with each other and in nature than beating the clock.   We laugh, we sing, we take breaks when people need to rest, and – yes – we RUN!  And truthfully – that’s how many races SHOULD be.  If it’s always about time, you’ll get burnt out really quickly!


Have you ever made The Runner’s Promise?  Did it work out?  Did you cross the finish line holding hands?  :)  Or do you never promise to run with someone else and why?



  • Heather (Heather's Dish) April 2, 2010, 12:55 pm

    i’ve never done that because I don’t run races. but if i did, i would DEFINITELY make the runner’s promise. i would be it makes it WAY more enjoyable, fun, and meaningful. can’t wait to read about the trail race! it sounds SO fun!

  • Jordon April 2, 2010, 1:00 pm

    I just made the “Runner’s Promise” to my mom! We are running a marathon together on May 2nd. It’s my second marathon, and her second marathon. She is looking for a PR, but I know I’m not trained nearly well enough to PR. Instead, my goal is to help her achieve the best time she possibly can by pacing her through the race. And, of course, to make sure she has a great time. I think races can be really fun either way… but I must say, I’m more excited about this marathon than I have been about any previous race. I can’t wait to run a marathon with her!

  • Lisa April 2, 2010, 1:00 pm

    My last race (The Shamrock 8k) I ran with my friend Robyn. Half way through we lost each other because she hung back with one of her friends who was slower and struggling. But we met at the finish line.

  • Amanda April 2, 2010, 1:00 pm

    I’ve never done it before. I’m usually much faster than my friends and I’m way too competitive with myself to not do my best. But … I’m planning on running my first marathon (The Disney also) with a good friend of mine. I plan on making the runner’s promise with her. I hope I don’t regret it. I think it will be fun though.

  • jen trinque April 2, 2010, 1:01 pm

    I, very sadly, always run alone 🙁 I don’t have anyone I train with or practice with or anything! I used to run with a guy I was with, but that was years ago and he was faster, so we usually split up. I really hope you’ll have a wonderful time like you did last year, though!

  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs April 2, 2010, 1:03 pm

    I’ve never made the Runner’s Promise – but then I have zero friends in the running world! So it’d be pretty darn hard to make a promise like that :s In fact, I’m the only person I know who runs…how weird is that!? I’d totally love to run a race for fun with someone though, it’d probably do me good to not try and get a PR or something!
    Have a good afternoon and drive 🙂

  • Betty April 2, 2010, 1:04 pm

    I’ve taken the “runner’s promise” a few times. Like you said we just had fun..we sang, took breaks, walked, talked and ran. I think it’s important to enjoy races also.

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle April 2, 2010, 1:07 pm

    I’ve run an entire race with only 3 people.

    My Mom- Pacing her to BQ at a couple marathons

    My hubby- To support him in his first 5K and Half Marathon. We may have held hands as we finished his half….

    My running buddy- He & I run basically the same pace, however often one of us has a better day than the other, so near the end we may split up. Usually the slower person that day encourages the other to go ahead. On a rare occassion we do finish a race together too!

    • caitlin April 3, 2010, 3:20 pm

      i love that you paced your mom through marathons! that is SOOO cute.

  • Jenny April 2, 2010, 1:08 pm

    I’ve never made it officially, but I make some kind of plans and give it my all!

  • Matt April 2, 2010, 1:11 pm

    I usually run my races alone for my own goals, so I don’t really make the “runners promise”. If I want to run with someone, I will do it on a normal day when it isn’t costing me money. If I am paying to run, there is no hold back 😉

  • Chloe (Naturally Frugal) April 2, 2010, 1:12 pm

    I have definitely made it with some friends who are better than I am and are just there running to be supportive and cheer me on. In other instances, we have just said it’s ok to go ahead if the other person gives you a nod or sign that it’s ok to leave them. Luckily I am not a good runner at all so I either a) don’t care if I’m left behind or b) don’t care if I’m sticking with someone who’s slower than me.
    I can definitely see where things would go wrong though, and it’s always good to make a plan before the race starts!

  • Carolyn @ lovinlosing April 2, 2010, 1:14 pm

    I convinced a friend to do the Shamrock 8K with me, but I didn’t expect her to stay with me. She runs MUCH fast than me (finished about 15 minutes before me!).

  • Kelly April 2, 2010, 1:15 pm

    I wanted my ex bf to stay with me last year, but he wouldn’t. Luckily I found a friend’s wife who ran basically the same pace as me until the last 3 miles.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 2, 2010, 1:17 pm

    I’ve never ran a race (but can’t wait to!) and so I’ve never made a runner’s promise before. But I would love that!! But i’d have to have someone to run WITH first… all of my friends think that my love of running is NUTS.

  • Steph-exercise physiologist and artist! April 2, 2010, 1:17 pm

    The runners promise is how I have gotten through many races.
    My job is all about exercise and nutrition. I am a fit and healthy person but for some reason running has ALWAYS been hard for me.
    I try to encourage myself to be excited with every improvement I make… even if it is one second! That keeps it fun for me.
    I am all about low stress when it comes to my eating and exercise 🙂

  • Run Sarah April 2, 2010, 1:19 pm

    That sounds awesome – have tons of fun tomorrow!

  • Alison April 2, 2010, 1:19 pm

    I’ve only run in one race and I did it alone. My husband ran too, but he’s WAY faster than me. I’m going to be a buddy runner for my 11 year old neighbor’s Girls on the Run 5k, so that’s the first time I’ll have a buddy. I’m obviously not running that for time, just to be an encouragement to her. It’ll be fun.
    Good luck at the trail run. Brooksville isn’t too far from my hometown of Inverness, FL.

  • Madison April 2, 2010, 1:19 pm

    This post is interesting because I think as runners, we’ve all been there, but this is the first I’ve read someone write about it. I like it! To promise or not to promise. I train mostly alone and so I run most of my races alone. I have never ran a race for “fun” so I’ve never made the promise. I think if someone asked me, I would make the promise.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) April 2, 2010, 1:19 pm

    I’ve done that for two races, and it was a blast! I agree that sometimes races need to be run for fun to avoid burnout. Twenty-two races…wow, you’re on fire, Caitlin!

  • Brynn April 2, 2010, 1:20 pm

    I like to run at my own pace so I race by myself. I get cranky if I feel pressured to speed up or slow down so I just like to avoid running with friends for everyone’s sake. 🙂 However, I did run with my mom at this year’s Polar Bear 5K on New Years because we wanted to jump into the lake together at the end. It ended up being really fun to run with her! I don’t know if I could have jumped in if I was by myself.

  • Megan @ Eat.Scrap.Run April 2, 2010, 1:22 pm

    I took the runners promise one time, and it was for my first half marathon. I was slower than my friend Holly, but she stuck with me the whole time, and practically carried me across the finish line. That’s what good friends are for!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 2, 2010, 1:23 pm

    my wonderful bf made a promise that we would sign up for our first race together. Unfortunately because of my schedule and injury flare ups it hasn’t happened yet. But I appreciate that he’s said yes, and he even stuck with his training plan when I couldn’t and had to switch to the bike.

  • Angharad April 2, 2010, 1:29 pm

    I ran my very first race with a friend who is WAY faster than me. It was a 5K and she vowed to stick with me, at my pace the whole time – she was doing it for me! Since she is so fast though, she ended up unconsciously pushing me REALLY hard and I ran faster than I think I would ever be able to match again without her! I loved every second of it though and would love to make the promise for a slower race!

  • Amy B @ Second City Randomness April 2, 2010, 1:32 pm

    I ran quite a few races last year with my cousin and we stuck to the promise. It was fun because I would talk the whole way through it! But then I started to get a little more competitive with myself. The next race I’m running is with my friend and she’s well aware that I’ll be running to beat my time- and she’s ok with it!

  • Megan April 2, 2010, 1:37 pm

    I’ve yet to make a Runner’s Promise, but at the Disney Princess Half-Marathon, I had the great luck to catch my girlfriend at mile 10 and finish the race with her. We crossed the finish line holding hands held high. I acutally just shipped the photo finish picture off to her today. It was amazing to have that connection with a dear friend when we both needed a little “get-up-and-go” encouragement. Best of luck tomorrow to you all!

  • Hedda April 2, 2010, 1:48 pm

    It might be a bit different, but I always did it with my best friend when I was younger and we were to participate in runs at my school. I remember it being such a good motivation and a help to get over the finish line. When we ran together it was harder for both of us to quit because we pushed and cheered on eachother, and hey- we discovered that we could manage to run the whole way!
    Your circumstances seem like a smart way to ensure that both of you benefit from being running partners.

    Wish you all the best at the run, håper det blir en strålende opplevelse ( = hope that it will be a brilliant experience ;))

  • Shannon April 2, 2010, 1:49 pm

    I was just thinking about this! I have a 10-mile race coming up next weekend, and I had emailed a few girlfriends about it back during registration. I assumed that we would all meet up beforehand & afterwords, but some people assumed we were all running together. I feel rude telling them that I want to run alone, but running is such a personal thing for me. Even if my friends say that they’ll slow down to my pace, I pressure myself to keep up with them, and end up burning out early. I would be ALL about having a “Runner’s Promise” with a friend if we made the promise early on though! Especially if the friend was a beginner/slower than me, heehee

  • Tara April 2, 2010, 1:53 pm

    My first 5k, I was joined by 3 lovely ladies that were new friends to me. They had all run 5ks before, and insisted that they’d stick with me the whole way! I felt a little uncomfortable since I KNEW they were all capable of a much faster time, but all 4 of us crossed the finish like at 45 minutes! I was so grateful to them for making my first 5k a supportive and friendly experience. It was an odd combination of pressuring myself and feeling OK because they were supporting me so much 🙂

    • Caitlin April 3, 2010, 4:05 pm

      love this description!

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story April 2, 2010, 1:54 pm

    I am making a runners promise for my first half marathon in October. My friend has ran like 18, but she says she “trots” and seems to keep the same pace as I do and says she has no problem slowing down if I need her to. She runs for the accomplishment of the finish, not for time…I run like that too. Although time is nice. 🙂

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg April 2, 2010, 2:01 pm

    I’ve done both, and have fun with both. The runs that I do with someone else are always a bit more casual…but I have to admit, in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking, “This is a RACE! I should be trying harder!” lol

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is April 2, 2010, 2:01 pm

    I ran one race with my hubby, but of course never made the promise – he is pretty face running about a 7:00 pace. He looped back around and finished with me, as I was whining.

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) April 2, 2010, 2:08 pm

    I haven’t taken my running to race level yet, but I’m eager to do so. I really like your philosophies behind the different approaches to time and fun races. Having some one to share the experience with sounds like the best motivation.

    Beautiful lunch! I love those black bean burgers.

  • Kelly April 2, 2010, 2:12 pm

    I agree with you that there are times when you may need to just run by yourself and make a time but I think as often as possible you should run races for fun. We already do enough in life not for fun, why add running to the list?

  • Theresa (ActiveEggplant) April 2, 2010, 2:15 pm

    My husband and I made the runners promise for the Disney Marathon this year. Biggest.Mistake.Ever. Sadly, it ended up being a really bad experience for both of us (not the marathon necessarily…just the “running together” part). We have since vowed NEVER to run together again – and its working wonderfully! We’re just at two totally different levels as far as physical ability goes, so he’s always holding back and I’m pushing way too hard and we never found the middle ground on race day (even after 18 weeks of “together” training runs!) Lesson learned for sure! Now our runs together consist of starting at the same time but running different routes!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) April 2, 2010, 2:16 pm

    Hunni and I tried to run together once but realized we annoy the crap out of each other. And none of my other running friends run races near me. I would love to do this one day.

  • Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep April 2, 2010, 2:24 pm

    I plan on making this promise to my friend Ellen who is running her first half next March at the Disney Princess. I ran it this year, and when I run it next year, I just want to do it for fun and to help encourage her every step of the way. I know I would have liked someone there for me when I couldn’t run any longer.

  • Julie @SavvyEats April 2, 2010, 2:26 pm

    This is how I would have run the Disney Princess Half if I hadn’t been injured!

  • Heather ODonnell April 2, 2010, 2:28 pm

    I made my first runner’s promise with my sister. The race is a 20K on May 1st. She keeps saying that I will need to slow down to stay with her, but she has been running for years, and I have been running for less than a year. I am totally not interested in time because I have a half marathon 4 weeks later. That is my big spring event. I’m running the 20K with my sister because I want to spend some time with her. And I hope that 12+ miles will be a good time for us to catch up.

  • Wendy April 2, 2010, 2:30 pm

    I haven’t yet, but I hope to pace my friend Stephanie for a PR in a half in May (I’m shooting for my own PR in an April half). We live 1.5 hrs apart, and we’ve never run together, so it should be interesting!

  • Harriet April 2, 2010, 2:32 pm

    I have never made the promise before as I have never ran a race with anyone before. However, me & my friend are both doing our first half marathon later this year and we wills tick together the whole way through!

  • Michelle April 2, 2010, 2:35 pm

    Someone made the runner’s promise to ME and it made a huge difference. It was my first 10K and my friend encouraged me to sign up (against my will) and we ran it together. I was convinced I was going to have to walk the last three miles, but I hung in there! It was only my second overall race, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was really surprised when she grabbed my hand and we sprinted across the finish line together! I’ve run a bunch of races since and that one has always been one of the most special ones. 🙂

    • Caitlin April 3, 2010, 4:05 pm

      that is super sweet!!!

  • Sammi April 2, 2010, 2:35 pm

    My January race, I met a girl who works perfectly for me with the whole runners promise thing! We started my February race together and she ended up telling me to go ahead when she had to tie her shoe. Then we signed up in the same wave for my March race and ran the whole thing together 🙂
    We don’t necessarily say that we’re “promising” to run together; however, we try to for as long as we can. The last race, there were a lot of times that I was running ahead of her and then she ended up encouraging me to go as hard as I could for the last sprint to the finish.

    I wish I had made a runners promise with someone for my race tomorrow! 8 miles. By myself. I’m terrified!

  • Lauren April 2, 2010, 3:12 pm

    My first 5K was ran on a Runner’s Promise. It was my BFF’s first race as well and we were both not very good or natural runners. We didn’t live near each other but kept tabs on our runs and on race day we went at our own pace but totally celebrated our finish together!

  • Catherine April 2, 2010, 4:08 pm

    I’ve actually never run a race with anyone other than my brother, but he’s a speedy gonzales and can run a mile in 5 minutes flat, so clearly my 7-7:30 times for 10ks are no match for him! We at least train together though… I really want to do at least one race with my fiance though – maybe a 5k – he’s not a big runner, but it’d just be cool to have a buddy there!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) April 2, 2010, 4:23 pm

    I’ve never made the runner’s promise. I ran a 10k with my dad this past fall, and although we were both discussing our training and hopes for the race, we also mutually agreed that we’d set our own pace. I knew from the get-go that his pace is way faster than mine and I didn’t want to slow him down (or make myself miserable by running too fast :mrgreen: )

    I love the idea of the Runner’s Promise though! I’d love to do this at some point. 😀

  • Lindsey @ Eat, Read, Run April 2, 2010, 4:35 pm

    I made a runner’s promise with my best friend to run our first marathon together the whole way. We’ve run races “together” before, but one of us always takes off. We seem to have differing “good days.” We ran the whole marathon together, hit walls at different points, cried, and finally crossed the finish line together holding hands – awesome! Then we went on to run the NYRR Manhattan Half Marathon together this January and we didn’t make the promise, but stuck together anyway. Anything below 13.1 miles and it’s a free for all though.

  • lauren @ Eater not a runner April 2, 2010, 4:46 pm

    I’ve never run a race with a friend! I would like to, seems like it would be great for a marathon.

  • Krystin April 2, 2010, 4:57 pm

    hey this may sound really random….but i go to pitt and i saw your article about operation beautiful in it today!!!!!! i’ve read your blog several times and when i saw your picture in the pitt news i recognized you!!! …….. i dont know if you already have a copy, but if you want i would be more than happy to send you your article!

    • Caitlin April 3, 2010, 4:08 pm

      They sent me one! Thank you so much. I was THRILLED to be in The Pitt News 🙂 🙂 🙂 GO PITT

  • Nicole April 2, 2010, 4:59 pm

    I ran my first 15K last year with a friend and we both kept our runner’s promise to each other. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had. We both run at around the same pace anyway, so it worked out perfect. And it was so nice to have someone to push me along when I needed it.
    Have fun tomorrow. I can’t wait to read about it!

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly April 2, 2010, 5:10 pm

    I haven’t ever done the runner’s promise but I have agreed to be a pacer for someone and run slower to help them get the time they wanted. That is always rewarding!

  • Samantha April 2, 2010, 5:23 pm

    People always want me to run with them or promise we’ll run together but in my mind I know that I am going to be racing and they wont be able to keep up. So I rarely do runners promise’s unless we are just doing training runs!

  • Naomi (onefitfoodie) April 2, 2010, 5:43 pm

    thats aamzing, i haven’t run in too many races, but the next time I d, I am going to have a runners promise. I love those pictures of you!!

    I think the fact that you said some races are for fun and some are for time and or a PR shows that you truly are a runner…awesome job!

  • RunToTheFinish April 2, 2010, 5:49 pm

    Truly my first runners promise is going to be this June with Mel Tall Mom and I really think I’ll be holding her back so it kinda freaks me out

  • Red Head, Yellow Dog April 2, 2010, 6:00 pm

    great post!! I semi made a runners promise with my boyfriend for an 8k..but then he didn’t train at all for it and he went back and forth on whether he wanted me to stay with him. I ended up running the first 3 miles with him though! It’s better to go into a race knowing what the deal is.

  • eatdrinkandbemerrynyc April 2, 2010, 6:58 pm

    YES! My friend who is speedy gonzalez (1:40 halfs) promised she would lead me to a PR in a very difficult course (Staten Island New York through NYRR). She paced me the entire way and then pulled ahead at the finish yelling for me to sprint. I made it in 1:53:57 shaving about 10 minutes off my previous half and 20 minutes off my first!!!

    • Caitlin April 3, 2010, 4:08 pm

      nice! congrats!

  • John April 3, 2010, 1:29 am

    I’ve never made it because no one I know signed up for the only race I’ve ever done 🙂 I would though if it ever came up. Enjoy your trip and run!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat April 5, 2010, 10:33 am

    I ran with a friend this past weekend in a 10 mile race. She runs a little bit faster than me, so I watched her back for most of the race. But when it came time to go up a big incline at mile 9, she grabbed my hand and pulled me up that hill! It was nice having someone there to support me and to keep me from giving up on myself. But if I had needed to slow down or stop for any reason, I would’ve wanted her to go on without me 🙂

  • Tammy April 5, 2010, 11:18 am

    I think I have written to you about this before. I have had friends make the “runner’s promise” to me and then totally ditch…that was pretty disappointing. I don’t want to hold anyone back, but in my oninion, those people shouldn’t say anything at all! I definitely had to scale back my expectations after that…this one particular running buddy is just way too competitive and cannot NOT run for a PR every time. So I know now that whatever she promises, I will most likely not be running the race with her. At first, I took this really personally and was also frustrate with myself for not being able to keep up. BUT last year, I had an eye opening experience and realized that I have to run my own race…what works for her definitely does not work for me and frankly, it takes all the fun out of it for me! I usually do better nayway when I’m not so caught up in performance and comapring myself to someone else! I want to be running for a long time!! Something that John Bingham said really impacted me mentally and kept me positive and encouraged during my last marathon. He said, ” I don’t think of other runners as competitors. I don’t see them as runners who are going to prevent me from winning. I see them as the very people who are going to help me be victorious.” I’m never going to win any races, that’s just reality. But remembering what he says somehow helps me see other runners as people pushing me forward, not holding me back. In my last marathon, I recieved far more encouragement from other runners in the race than anyone on the sidelines! This perspective also helps me be happy for my friends because instead of their victories meaning that I’ve “failed”, I can look to them for pointers on how to improve or what NOT to do myself!!

    • caitlin April 5, 2010, 11:20 am

      i loved this comment, such a good one! the race really is against yourself.

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