Thursday, January 2, 2014

And so I say "nice to meet you"

I'm excited to be back running. And with the return I've concentrated on the things most returning runners would...breathing is getting better, knees feel strong, times are improving.  However, tonight I got reminded of one of my favorite parts of running...people.

By nature I'm relatively shy, with two exceptions: the 3-11 drink range and when running/racing.  I remember my first half, the course, the rain, my shoes, the blister, but most of all the talking.  I'm middle of the pack on...on a good day and that first race was. It's funny how something as simple as "this suuuUuuucks" wheezed out on an uphill soaked from rain can spark 6 miles of conversation and stories and laughs.  Since that time I've encountered so many great people in races.  The 2010 Chicago Marathon where I ran 2-7 with a nice lady that eventually realized it wasn't her day and told me, actually had to convince me, to go on without her.  It's hard to tell what's a subtle plea for encouraging words and ass kicking and what is a true mind or body is DONE.  So again, same race, ran miles 19 where I "liberated" a bag of ice from an aid station on an 83 degree day and proceeded to share that bag with a girl right up to and through the finish line.  And just to show I'm not biased, during the Harrisburg Marathon, my first, ran 15-23 with a guy who was also of a larger build and we had a great time.

At any rate, my point, I think I had one, was that more than time or medals or whatever, you can gain humanity from races/running.  Pushing down your own pain and cramps to force a smile and a head nod with a quick "you're doing great" or "how ya feeling...pfff me too, but at least beer soon" or whatever is called for, can, maybe should be your measure as a runner.  Or maybe the humility to accept encouragement in your hour or mile of need.

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