Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 217 - Why Run? - Social Life

I started a series a few days ago... Monday, I think. I'm trying to explain why people run. This is act 4.

Running is a solitary endeavor.  You can run by yourself, leaving the rest of the ugly world behind.


Running can be a highly social endeavor.

Some, wait... let me think... yep, most of my longtime friends are also running buddies. Most didn't start as friends. They started as running buddies.

Runners tend to stick together.

It shouldn't be much of a surprise, I guess. Runners have something in common... desire to be fit, more or less.

We also spend a lot of time with our running buddies. And when your out on the roads or trails together, staring straight ahead, there isn't much else to do but talk.

There's something about running alongside someone that makes talking, and finding things to talk about, easy. Maybe it's all of that breathing... if you're gonna exhale, you might as well through some words out there, too.

But the conversations are always good, interesting, funny. And there's rarely awkward silence. The silence comes on steep uphills, or when someone's decided to push the pace.

Runners are accepting. A fellow runner doesn't think any less of another runner if they are slower. We've all been new runners before. And we'll all be old runners one day. We don't care what you wear, how much you weigh, what you smell like, or how often you spit or fart.

We share a bond, an understanding of what it means to be a runner.

Runners are also supportive. Every runner wants to hear another runner's stories, and is interested in what they are training for, or how their last race went, or even just their last run.

And we encourage each other. A nod on passing on a trail, or a "looking good" on passing in a race. We aren't competitors. We're all part of a brotherhood/sisterhood.

There needs to be a unisex word for "brotherhood". Siblinghood?


Some of my favorite trips have been to big city marathons. The expos, which are big gatherings before the race where runners pick up packets and generally mingle around the vendors selling gear, are filled with people who love running as much as I do. And the city itself, the restaurants, the streets, the theaters, are packed with people in running shoes and old race T-shirts, who smile when they see you, and want to know you. No fellow runner is stranger. With this kind of concentrated exposure, it's easy for anyone to see that runners in general are good, friendly, insanely nice people.

By simply deciding to dedicate a small portion of your life to a healthy running lifestyle, you gain admittance to a club. This club chock full of people who are eager to help you, to cheer for you, and to shake your hand when you beat them. These same people will meet you on a dark, cold, rainy morning, just so you won't have to run alone. And they'll help pass the time on a hot, muggy run with a story about their spouse, or their dog, or their job, or whatever, it doesn't matter. These people will become your friends and they will care about you. And you will care about them.

And, you burn enough calories to enjoy a guilt-free beer with that person.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles.