Today I had the pleasure of introducing a friend to my Gazelle Running Group friends. I'm always proud to show them off. They're a little crazy, but always positive and sincerely welcoming to the new kids. We all left at different times today at varying paces, but it creates a small bond to pass a fellow runner on a bridge in mid-February wind gusts and know that although they may be faster (or slower), they're experiencing that little slice of hell right along with you.
I enjoy encouraging people. It's a slippery slope with someone just getting acclimated to the pain that running can bring. And I always feel like a little bit of an asshole when I'm chirping out an "it gets easier" to someone that I assume is thinking run-hate thoughts in their own head. But I do it anyway, because that's what I would've liked to hear. I think back to those summer days huffing it around Windmill Island way too early in the morning in already 80 degree heat. I hated busting my butt to keep up with the rest of the group and it was hard not to let the bad thoughts convince me to give up that day...or forever. Running is very truthfully a mind game but if you can defeat your own doubts, fears and excuses you will eventually be rewarded for that.
Who gets up every Saturday morning before the sun, rain, shine or snow, and suffers a lot or a little for an hour or two every week? People who realize that doing so matters for all kinds of reasons. Show me a runner who's exercise habits haven't positively influenced some other aspect of their life. I'd be interested to learn why they keep heading out there. These people know how to, according to my dad, "make it happen".
And dang it, that's why I love runners!