We runners are all a little nutty, but we're good people who just want to enjoy our healthy, primitive challenge. Others may not understand running, but we do, and we cherish it. That's our only message.
John J. Kelley, Olympic marathoner
I love this quote. Don't you feel like that sometimes? Although, I'm definitely starting to feel like more and more people "get it". I cannot believe how many of my friends have jumped on the bandwagon, and I can't wait to see them cross the finish line of their first races. I think I am probably more excited than they are!
I think the most pleasant surprise about running has been the whole new social world it has opened up. I mean running is a sport that requires no interaction. I never figured I would develop lasting friendships through running. My first half-marathon I stood at the starting line knowing absolutely no one around me. So I started with a pace team (surprisingly, I am still friends with my pace leader from that race, and on occassion, run with her... she is amazing). These days, it's a rare thing to show up to a race alone. And it's really rare to run a race and not at least see someone I know along the course. And, I've also been fortunate to often have someone of similar pace to run with during the race. I never expected it. But I have to say it is a strong motivator in keeping me on track.
I know I've commented about this before, and I always get replies from people who have trouble finding ways to meet other runners. I have to say, I didn't do anything unique to "find" my running friends. Some of them I met by overhearing them talking about running and striking up a conversation - where do you run? how far? want to meet up sometime? A couple of them I met after reading their articles in the "Inside Texas Running" magazine and checking out their blogs and then realizing we had mutual friends. I literally "introduced" myself online, and then made it a point to say hi at the first race they were present at. As much as my friends make jokes about how much I talk when I run, it is kind of "out of the box" for me to strike up a real conversation with a total stranger. However, I'm glad I've done that. I've met a couple through my blog, and that's definitely been awesome. It's a slow process, and takes time, and isn't always easy or comfortable, but it's totally worth it.