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.


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