Tuesday, May 3, 2011

FInding Solidarity in a Solitary Sport

There are plenty of things that I don't like about how much information I learn about other people through Facebook and other social media.  I think the biggest issue for me is that I have fairly clear rules in my head about what I will and will not share with others and it makes me uncomfortable when other people break those rules for themselves.  While it's certainly their prerogative, I really don't want to know about their fight with their boyfriend, drunken fiasco, divorce drama or bowel movements.  Way too personal.

That being said, I have discovered that there is something really really positive about sharing things.

Sharing helps, inspires and encourages other people to try things they might not normally try. 

Like running. 

I started running on my own a few years ago.  There was no one in my life who ran (that I knew of anyway).  My sister and father had run (past tense) but my inspiration came from something internal rather than external.  As I started running and discovered how much I loved it, I became one of those annoying runners who talked about it all the time.  Family dinners, staff meetings, lunch with friends - I would try my hardest not to bring it up and would perhaps last ten minutes before I somehow turned the conversation to running.  Sad but true. 

I'm sure it annoyed some people.

But it inspired others. 

I have had six friends join the running clinic since I started.  I have received emails and Facebook messages from friends who have started running on their own and who have all sorts of questions.  I've had co-workers come to my office with a look of excitement on their faces to tell me (in a hushed voice) that they have started running - "it's only a few minutes at a time but I'm running!"  To which I respond "running is hard stuff and if you can already run a few minutes that's amazing!".

I'm certainly not claiming that all of these people are able to run because of me.  As anyone who runs knows, it's hard and takes a lot of commitment and self-discipline.  That can only come from within and I take no responsibility for anyone's successes.

But I do love the fact that everyone knows I run and therefore people who also run seek me out to share successes, ask for advice about electrolytes, layering or chafing or marvel at what a difference a five degree change in temperature can make. 

It's amazing to watch someone transform as they begin to run.  They gain confidence and learn that they are capable of so much more than they thought they were.  You can just see it in their eyes. 

I am grateful each and every time someone includes me in their journey. 

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