One of the nice things about running – is the camaraderie that exists. Even if you are running around with your music blaring in your headphones, as you go by another runner you can’t help but do the “head nod’ or perhaps a “hey’ as you go by. In the road races as you find yourself slowing down, a complete stranger will go by with a word of encouragement. There was a race I was running with a friend, he had always beat me in this running incarnation. His knee had been bothering him, and he was more than happy to let me go by him and beat him – right at the very end. I was gasping words of encouragement to him – things like ‘I haven’t beat you yet, why would you let me now?” and “YOU have a kick at the end of your race – use it!” (Even back in my highschool cross-country days, I have never had a kick at the end of my race). As I was trying to get him to blow me away and make me look silly, a girl goes by both of us, telling us both to get our butts in gear and kick it in. Some fantastic encouragement from a complete stranger!
I think running is one of the few sports you can do and enjoy both the solitude and the companionship. Back in the day (I’m getting older, so I get to use these phrases now) I used to run regularly with a buddy of mine named Bill. Sometimes we would talk about things (it was highschool.. so by “things” I mean “girls”), other times we would just let the miles go buy with nothing being said.
Today, I went for a five-mile run with my good friend Dustin. The distance had been a goal we set, although we both did it first – earlier in the week to make sure we could. We ran significantly slower than either of us have been, ~5 mph instead of our usual – faster than 6 mph. We had a great time talking the whole way, joking about things, making observations about the others that were out and about in the park. We ended up running 6.6 miles, the furthest I have run in this round of running, and I think it was the furthest he has ever run (Way to go D!) It was just a nice pleasant “hang out” – with a friend I haven’t spent much time with, in a long, long time. I suspect that later on I may regret our choice to run 1.6 miles further than we had planned, but in a couple of days – it will be a good thing.
I don’t know that I would want all my runs to be with someone else, it really changes feeling of the run. Then again, maybe it would be a good thing to have most of my runs be “Social.” It was certainly much easier to run today, though I don’ t know how much of it was due to the slower pace, and how much of it was the pleasant company. Either way though, it was a great day, with a good run. Thanks Dustin!