Gotta Run Your Own Way
Today, I set out to run my farthest distance yet! I ran down my usual path, and then instead of turning around, I added an additional 2-mile loop. All together, it added up to 4.8 miles. I’m slightly bummed that it wasn’t 5 miles (which sounds a lot more impressive), but I am pleased that I covered the distance in 1:08. It’s nice to know that even if my 14:00/mile pace is slow, I can sustain it over that distance. I feel like I’ve broken through another wall: the part of me that honestly believed I could never run more than four miles without stopping HAS BEEN SILENCED.
But I really want to highlight a much more specific moment in my run today. Forgetting about the beautiful sunshine, the glorious breeze, and the fact that I didn’t once cramp up or get wheezy, something much more noteworthy happened. I had passed the halfway point in my run, and I was nearing the end of an uphill stretch. Because I had a nice, slow pace going, I didn’t really need to slow down to conquer the hill. And as I was nearing the high point, I saw a pair of guys about my age running towards me. These guys were clearly “runners” compared to most of the folks who use this trail. In the presence of real runners, I am always a bit intimidated. Their stride is longer and more powerful, and they really look at ease with the activity. Compare this to red-faced, practically shuffling me, who is just trying to fake it ’til she makes it.
We were just about to cross paths when I made the customary, polite nod. And before I could say something like, “Good afternoon” or “Hey there” one of the guys said to me, “Nice job!” (Or it might have been nice JOG…I’m not certain.) I can’t even fully capture what an impact that had on the rest of my run. If I was tempted to stop and take a walking break, I thought about how that guy was proud of me, and imagined him rooting me on! I pushed through to the end of my run and felt great!
For a total stranger to offer me some encouragement really touched something in me. As a result, I feel a deep sense of camaraderie with my fellow humans. To quote from HSM, I feel like, “We’re all in this together!” And goals, even as large as mine, seem a lot more surmountable when you’ve got the support of others.
So I would like to give a shout-out to a fellow member of the human race, who gave me a simple gift of kindness that made a huge impact in my life. I hope I can pay it forward by doing that for the people I encounter.