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.