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A Community with a Lifetime Membership

After 20 minutes inside of Walmart, my partner and I walk up and down the parking lot trying to locate my car. Had it really only been 20 minutes since we parked? Why can’t we remember where we parked? I may not be able to tell you where I parked the car, but I can tell you the distance of any of my favorite trails on the MERA. I can tell you the mile markers along the trail as well. I can also tell you the times of all my recent races. As a runner, that’s part of the territory, there is a specific part of the brain reserved for random running stats. But sadly, there is a lack of space for remembering where I parked the car just 20 minutes ago.

There are many things that as a runner, our family and non-running friends probably won’t understand. Put aside that we pay money to feel the pain associated with running, there are many things that make us “weird” and hard to relate to if you don’t run. A fellow runner would never question why my training schedule has anything to do with planning a weekend outing. A fellow runner would also understand why I believe it is worth it to wake up early or stay up late to ensure I get my miles in for the day. Running is a sport for the young, and the old. I’m not sure where I fall in those two categories, but needless to say, anyone that wants to participate, can.

When you start running you will begin to notice that you experience a lot of different emotions. You hate it. You love it. You feel challenged. You feel motivated. And yet, you don’t understand why you’re doing it. But then you see yourself accomplish something new and you begin to feel limitless. I ran my first marathon in 2013 and vowed to never run one again. This is a common phenomenon among first time marathon runners. For me, it lasted a little longer than it does for many. I didn’t run another marathon until 2018. Soon the itch to return to running returned and has yet to dissipate.

As a runner, you get to begin looking forward to simple things, like a new pair of running shoes. You look forward to summer when your choice for shoes waver between running shoes or sandals. Why? Because your toes have a lack of interest in fitting into shoes if you aren’t running. They blister or bruise. And when the time is right, toe nails may fall off completely.

We have a tan line where our Garmin watch sits, and we have no fear of peeing in a random port-a-potty or off the side of a trail. Our family members can define for you what ‘hangry’ means because they put up with it frequently. Running is more than a sport. It is a community with a lifetime membership. It is there for you when you are sad, angry, or just in need of fresh air. You can run alone, with a friend, two legged or four legged. For me, running has been there through many of the challenges in my life. Always there to hold my hand and put me in my place when necessary. And though I don’t think running is for everyone, I do think it is for anyone that wants to be a part of it.

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