Finding someone who just “gets” you is a priceless experience. I love it when I’m having a conversation with someone, and in come those enthusiastic nods and chuckles at the realization that I’ve found another who understands…and “gets” it. Those experiences were fairly limited outside of my marriage and fellow counselor friends until I entered into one of the most welcoming clubs I’ve ever known: running. I now have the gift of spotting a fellow runner from a mile away, and have made many great friendships that stemmed from the only obvious trait we had in common at that time: running.
Running is so much more than that. Sure, we love to run, and even more so, to talk about running. If you look closer, you’ll find the connecting pieces that bring us all together: understanding. The pride in ourselves. The accomplishment. The drive. The motivation. The sense of purpose in our lives. Knowing how far we’ve come, and how far we want to go. The way we encourage and motivate one another, and while there is some competitive nature involved, it’s not a catty, “fight to the death” form of rivalry, but rather a “push each other to perform at our best” tactic. Never is there a success that is considered too small, and even when we are at different levels of performance, it ALL counts in our book. Yes, I’m saying “we” and “our” a lot here, because I’m speaking for the rest of you who are nodding right now because you also “get” it. You, too, know that genuine passion for helping others along with yourself, in the place where anyone is welcome to join at any time. It’s…family.
I’m always amused at the immediate comfort and openness we have in speaking about the many adventures of running: bruised and/or missing toenails, blisters, cracked feet, shin splits, blown out knees, stress fractures, bathroom stories, sweat, mucus, consuming insects (let the record show that I will never be okay with this), and countless other road and/or trail ailments. Even better are the runners who are eager to help each other, encouraging and cheerleading one another so enthusiastically that you would think they are getting more out of others’ successes than their own. In some cases, they really are. I am one of those runners. I love to spot a newbie to the field, and if you’ve ever run into me (no pun intended), you’ll know that while I’m already a long-winded person, I can really kick it into overdrive when talking about running. Top that with being determined to help everyone I can, and you have a marathon Q&A session. Literally. 😉
Some of my favorite people are simply that because they run. It’s almost like a prerequisite now. Oh, you’re a runner? I like you already. 🙂 I will add that a lot of my favorite people are not runners, and our running talk is limited because they think I’m crazy and operate under their own mantras of “I only run when chased, and even then, it’s doubtful.” I love them anyway, but the poor souls are really missing out. While I don’t push people to run, I do encourage them to try, but when someone shows the slightest interest in joining the club, I will jump at the chance to drive the idea home.
Runners are a special breed, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I never imagined I would ever get to that crossover point, and I’m so proud and honored to be a part of this family. I ❤ my running buddies. Happy running!