Training with my girlfriends lifts me

Summer on the Run is a 12-week blog and video series that follows former Olympic swimmer and avid runner Summer Sanders on her journey to train for Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 24. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she will share training tips, and a little inspiration, as she gears up for the main event. Use hashtag #GoRun on Twitter to follow Summer and be part of the ongoing conversation.

I'm inspired by my girlfriends, just as I'm inspired by professional athletes. I admire those who stick to their commitments and goals, especially when it's not easy. We're all so busy and have a lot of things in our lives that we need to balance.

I have been traveling a ton lately, so I jumped at the chance for a run with my girlfriends. One of us picks the day, another chooses the window of time and a third selects the place. It's best to go with the flow when you're planning to run with other busy people.

We mix up our days, times and routes to keep it fun. When I saw my girls Kate and Inge, I just lit up. It was the perfect small group I needed, 10 weeks out from race day. We started gabbing immediately, and it felt like my easiest workout all week, even though we ran the entire time.

We talked about life, parenting, husbands and holidays, and we were sure to laugh at ourselves. This time they led, and I saw areas of my small town (near Park City, Utah) I've never seen before. How cool is it to do that in your own town? I bet you can do the same if you let someone else lead your run for a change.

The route we took was a circle, which I like much more than an out-and-back run. It was just more than five miles, and we never stopped chatting. I loved this partial-trail, partial-road run.

Training days like this lift me up; they are fuel for a happy soul. We all agreed we needed to do it again soon to keep up the momentum and good vibes.

Summer is sure she can do anything she sets her mind to with her husband Erik, daughter Skye, son Spider and her best girlfriends by her side. This week's challenge: Run through the holidays without losing motivation and going into a food coma from eating chocolate and baking pies with the kids.

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