We’re a very blessed group of people, runners. Running is a microcosm of life. It’s a journey that we’re on, a journey that redefines us, deepens our identity, strengthens us. We run alone. It’s not a team effort. No one else is going to get us out of the warm bed, away from the computer or playing with the dog and out into the world. If we have a running coach, he’s not going to bench us for the game and Geoff Calkins will write us up in the CA if we didn’t make it to practice. If we run with a group, they aren’t going to unsubscribe us for not showing up. Running is commitment, it’s a promise made and kept by us alone.
Running is hot, and cold, it’s rainy and snowy and humidity thick as soup, it’s pain in every step, orthotics, braces, a bathroom fragranced by Icy Hot, having your podiatrist as a contact in your IPhone. Running is the look of asphalt under your feet, the wrinkled peeling bark of trees along the trail, deer spotted in the cold misty morning at the Farms. It’s old towels, gloves, Hot Hands, empty Gatorade bottles, stray socks, an extra hat and crushed race bibs in the trunk, shoes strewn about the garage, smelly shirts hanging on doorknobs.
Running is being so completely slap happy at mile 18 that all you can do is point at your running partner and sob laughing because neither of you can subtract 18 from 20 to determine how much further you need to run. Running is blowing a snot rocket in the Kroger parking lot without even thinking. It’s seeing someone you’ve run with for 6 months at the movies and not recognizing them because “they’re wearing clothes”. It’s realizing that everything you have on except your jeans is running apparel, up to and including all foundation garments.
Running is also sitting next to your loved one in a hospital, or getting laid off, or having to move away from loved ones, knowing that you can do this. You can get up, you can get out of the house, youcan make it through this horrid day because you know that it’s just a part of the journey, not the whole. It’s just this day, it’s just these steps, and while you’re plodding through, looking down at the dark road beneath your feet, you can at the same time look up and see the sky. Because you are a Runner.
(Email from the Memphis Running and Track Club)