unexpected friends, or, why I am a runner

A year ago, running was not even on the radar for me. Running was what crazy people did. Running brought back memories of PE class. Running reminded me of cross country team in high school- a snooty group who rarely interacted with non-runners and who made sure everyone knew that they (the runners) were better than everyone else. I did a few other things for exercise- namely, swimming- but I had absolutely no desire to run. Ever.

Then I had this really bad month. Actually, it was more like a really bad week. It was stressful and just a lot of things in my life were going wrong. I was frustrated and angry with the world.

That was when I discovered Couch to 5k. I’m not exactly sure why, but suddenly it didn’t seem so bad. For the first time in my life, I thought, I could do this.

So I started running. I ran almost every day, and as it got easier and easier, it also became more fun. I couldn’t tell you when it happened, but one day I realized: I am a runner.

After my first race, though, I discovered something even more surprising. I had recently signed up for a profile on Daily Mile, a social media network for athletes. My friends on Daily Mile were people who I’d never met. I’d never considered myself an athlete and I still remembered all those “athletes” in high school who were so snooty and mean. Yet here were these athletes who were supporting me. These athletes encouraged me. These athletes cared about me.

The past week has been a little challenging for my workouts. My half marathon was a little over a week ago. Of course I expected to take it a bit easier following the half marathon, and I’ll admit, at first I was maybe even a bit lazy. Then I got a bad case of the hormones- oh the joy of being a woman, ya know! This month happened to be accompanied by a bad headache and a huge case of “I just want to lay around and eat chocolate”.

Imagine my surprise when, after not quite a week of no workouts or postings on Daily Mile, I began getting tweets, emails, and messages from my Daily Mile friends asking if I am okay.

These people, these ATHLETES, are my friends.

That’s pretty cool.

I think that’s why I am a runner.

And friends, don’t worry- I’ll be working out again tomorrow.

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