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Archive for July, 2011

Tonight, as I shuffled along with my Learn to Run clinic members, a woman passed us on the trail.  Her stride was fantastic.  Like a gazelle, she flew along the path.  As she passed us, she called back, “Great work Ladies!” I smiled, and my newbie runners, unsure that they were, in fact, actually doing great work, managed a wave.  A few minutes later, trying to keep up a conversation to distract them from the hard work of learning to be a runner, I said, “Runners really are a friendly bunch, aren’t they?”

It was true, I told them.  At every single race I had ever been at (5 to be exact now –such a small number, and yet so significant), I felt a part of a club that had been closed to me just a year before.  Runners looking for a PR, as they sprinted back to the finish line I felt like I had just left, called out to the slow-pokes at the back of the pack.  “Great job!”  “Keep up the good work!” “Looking good!”  After each race, runners hung around, despite finishing decades earlier, to congratulate every runner crossing the finish line.  I have even found myself, out on an evening run, on the rare occasion that I pass someone, waving and shouting, “Great job!”

At some point in the last year, I joined the Runner’s Club.  Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to get into the Runner’s Club, as was demonstrated by the woman-gazelle.  “You have to remember,” I said to my newbies, as they lamented their slow pace, “There are plenty of natural-born runners, but most of the people out on the trail got there the same way you will get there, with time and hard work.  When they started, they were just like you and me.”

I know I didn’t always feel like I belonged in the Runner’s Club.  I can tell now by the way my newbies complain about how slow, out of breath, fat, and sweaty they are, that they don’t feel like they are part of the club yet either.  But I know they’ll get there someday.

We runner’s are a very special breed.  As a club member, I am frequently invited to talk about differences in running shoes; I debate brands of socks like a wine connoisseur; body chafing and the various method of prevention are a part of my daily conversations; I discuss my body functions with complete strangers when we talk about brands of gel; I record my runs – my pace and my distance; and best yet, I not only register, but also complete races.  I like this club.  I guess I wouldn’t mind hanging around for a while.

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