I had a friend over last night for a glass of wine and some tasty cheeses. Oh, and some marinated artichokes too.
We have a lot of things in common, things that we don't share with a lot of other people, so our conversations tend to focus on those topics. It's nice and comforting and we laugh a lot. Kindred spirits. Recently, she has started working out, doing step classes at the YMCA, that sort of thing. She was really proud to tell me that she has started running. Nothing crazy she was quick to add, just running five minutes at a time on the treadmill. Still, I remember how hard it was to start running so I was impressed and very supportive.
Then she started asking me questions. Simple, easy questions like "do you listen to music when you run?" and "why do you have to wear special running clothes?" My answers seemed simple enough to me but they seemed to create more and more horror for her.
Yes, I listen to music. I have about four hours of music on my Shuffle. "Four hours? When the hell would you need four hours of music?" Well, I will probably run for at least 3 1/3 hours for Around the Bay so four hours seems safe. "Safe?? 3 hours? Is it safe to run for that long? It can't be good for your body, can it? Have you talked to your doctor? I really don't think that's a good idea." Well, it is a long time and it's pretty hard. I take care of myself though, getting massages and seeing my chiropractor to keep my shins, calves and feet from getting too bad. "WHAT? You have problems from running? I really don't think you should be running that much."
"Why do runners wear expensive running clothes?" Well, lots of reasons. For me, chafing is a problem so I try to get high quality stuff to reduce chafing. "CHAFING?? Why the hell would you run if you chafe?" Um, well, I put Glide on and it's usually ok. But the longer I run, the more spots chafe so there's always a spot that I miss. No big deal, I just put some aloe vera on and learn for next time. Some people chafe really badly. Go stand at the finish line of a marathon and watch the number of guys run across the finish line with bloody nipples. "Are you kidding? Runners are crazy! Why do you do things that hurt like that? I just don't understand why you want to do it"
This went on for quite some time.
I'm used to talking to runners about running. They get it. Chafing, shin splints, pain, hydration, four hour playlists, going to bed a nine pm on a Friday night. No big deal.
I'm also used to talking to people who are impressed with running. They might not do it but they think it's amazing when people do. The horror stories are cool for them.
I'm not used to defending myself. I felt like I was representing our entire race of runners and doing a piss poor job of it. I think my friend left thinking that she should stick to her weekly step classes and leave the running to the complete nutters of the world.
Sorry my running friends. I tried!