"Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too."
~ Richard O'Brien
Yesterday I drove to Arlington so I could do my workout on the bike path instead of the road. I had a whopper tempo run to tackle and I didn't want to have to deal with street crossings, cars and curbs. As I was finishing my run, the parking official was marking my car's tire with chalk. As he saw me coming, he stopped and waited by my car. Hmmm, I thought. Had I been there too long? When I got to the car he asked me if I was all right. I was dog tired and it very well may have looked like something was wrong. But, still. I told him I had just finished a run and that I was fine. "How far did you go" he asked? Despite my exhaustion and my strong desire to get in my car and drive to Starbucks, I could tell this guy wanted to chat and it was pretty clear that he was a runner. So, I gave him the low down. "I did 10 miles with 8 at goal marathon pace." "Wow. Nice work" he said. Then he went to lift up the bottom of his pants with his chalk stick. Ummm. Wait a sec. What the hell is going on here??? Alas, he revealed a pair of orange CEP compression socks like the ones I was wearing. "I noticed you have the same socks" he said. I never run without them. He held out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Brian." Because I was thrown for a loop and I didn't really have a choice, I shook his hand and said, "Nice to meet you, Brian, I'm Rebecca." He let me know that he worked part time at Marathon Sports, a local running store, that he was also training for a marathon, and that the bike path that I had just run on was less than ideal for a tempo run because of its slight incline over several miles. Yes, I nodded, I had just taken on that slight incline and it pretty much stunk. We both laughed. I told him that I was training for the Hartford Marathon, which I would be running in less than 3 weeks. "That's a great one," he said (of course he'd done it) and then proceeded to give me some tips. We also talked about our Saucony's - I was wearing the Rides, he was in the Guides - and the differences between the two. Finally, he chuckled as he told me that his wife thought he would have given up running years ago but that he can't seem to shake the habit. I smiled. "I get it" I said. At this point, we wrapped things up. "Well, Rebecca, you couldn't have asked for a better day for a run. At least you got that." "I could not agree more," I said. And off he went, continuing to mark the tires as he strolled down the street. Only in a runner's world is this situation both normal and acceptable. And only in a runner's world is the camaraderie so solid that it's not the least bit odd to stop a runner on the sidewalk to admire their socks or to let them know they'd done a good job on their workout - or in this case, both. The world is a crazy place. The running world is even crazier. But, if you're in it, you have to appreciate it. There is truly nothing like it.
Listen to this:
Crazy - Au Revoir Simone