I went into a pretty long post yesterday morning regarding the running club, but all I really tackled was the run itself.
Now it’s time to dish the dirt on people…
No, not really. But I do want to talk about running with others.
For me, and many other runners, our sport is a lonely pursuit. Headphones in, head down (figuratively – that’s no way to run) and get on with it. Personally, my mind is so loud during the rest of the day, thinking of ten thousand different ideas and problems and a to-do list longer than a long thing on a long weekend on Long Island. But running brings quiet. It brings solace and solitude and drowns out the noise of the world.
Man vs. road. No distractions. When I’m in ‘the zone’ I’ve even failed to notice cars trying to get past me…
So running with a group seems counter-intuitive to me. It’s not that I don’t like people. I’m (fairly) sociable. I make friends easily. It’s just that I like to run at my own pace, in my own world, as Kasia can attest.
Running with others tends to bring out my competitive side. Everyone in front of me needs to be chased down. Everyone behind has to stay there. I’m not the fastest guy in the world. I’m not even the fittest, nor the most willful. So I struggle when I’m feeling competitive and I’m losing. I don’t lose very well. It’s probably why I don’t race.
I have to admit, it was hard to watch as other runners disappeared into the distance as they overtook me on Tuesday night. Especially as I felt like dying in the heat. I had to remind myself that I had only been running for a few weeks since returning from 18 months out. And I’m running on blisters, with a sprained ankle. Plus, I’m nearly forty, and these are all young guys and girls. And I’ve been at work all day. And I didn’t stretch properly. And… and…
And I made a thousand other excuses as to why people were running faster than me. Instead of just running and enjoying it.
It’s not that I hated the experience – I will continue to go, for the social aspect, and to gauge my performance against others – I’ll know when I’m improving, right?
What I took away from it though was something else – The fact that despite the heat, despite the pain in my ankle, and despite being in real trouble at one stage three miles in, I kept running. I just kept running until I’d finished, then I turned round and ran some more. Probably because people were watching. And I know I can do that now, and I will.
I’m going to just keep running.