In an attempt to further convince myself that I like running and lose the last of the baby weight, I got the “bright” idea a few months ago to sign up for the Medtronic TC 10 Mile race again. I’m now five weeks into my training program and have been steadily increasing my mileage along the way.
Today my plan called for a 5-mile run, the longest I’ve done yet. I needed a new route since my old one wasn’t long enough. After weighing the possibilities I decided that Summit Avenue was my best option even though it meant encountering far more foot traffic than I was used to.
On any given day Summit Avenue is packed with runners, which after my experience today seem to fall into three categories:
- Pros (a.k.a. Usains and Sanyas): This is the top tier of runners, those who always seem to be channeling Usain Bolt or Sanya Richards Ross. They are incredibly lean, dressed in sleek running gear (including obnoxiously bright neon shoes), and clip along like gazelles, their feet barely touching the ground.
- Faithfuls: These runners have been around the block a few times (pun intended). They’re fast, fit and faithful to the sport. You can tell that they get out and run every single day, rain or shine.
- Newbies: The newbies are the bottom of the running food chain. We run at a pace that many people could probably walk, are loaded down with shiny new running gear such like water belts and heart rate monitors, and generally look like we’re going to fall over at any given moment.
As a newbie, I assumed that all runners acknowledge each other as they pass on the trail – I quickly learned that is not the case. The Usains and Sanyas breezed by me so quickly and stealthily that there was no chance of interaction. They probably barely saw me and could have easily mistaken me for a tree in the middle of the sidewalk at the pace they were running. While the faithfuls were fast, they weren’t so fast that we didn’t have a chance for our eyes to meet. In most cases they completely ignored me in spite of this, although one did smile at me after the second time we crossed paths.The newbies were another story. My fellow newbies always acknowledged me, giving me a knowing look or an encouraging smile that said “I know exactly how you feel”. There seems to be a unspoken language amongst us newbie runners, like we’re all members of a special club. We’re bonded in some way, plodding along with the hope that maybe one day we can cross that mythical bridge into the land of the faithful.Until then, we keep on keeping on with the knowledge and comfort that there are others out there that are struggling just as much as we are. And we don’t hesitate to share a smile along the way.