I hit the big 500 miles this weekend (she says and pauses for effect).
According to my Nike Plus app, I've run more than 500 miles since November 24, 2012 when I ran my first 5k, the aforementioned Turkeyman Trot in Lansing.
I've run as little as 1.5 miles at a time and as much as 9 miles just this past weekend. A few times, I ran without tracking my miles.
Some days, it was so hot that I had to dump a water bottle on my head to finish my run and so cold that I resembled the Michelin Man with my multiple layers piled on top of other layers. There were a couple of periods in there where I didn't run at all because of injuries (and one more shoulder surgery; yeah, that's three for anyone keeping count).
What's been constant through all those miles is my cheering section. I can't manage all that I do -- the job, the family, the running -- without a huge support network. I wouldn't be here today without my family's and friends' encouragement and help.
What are you, crazy?
And yet, sometimes the cheering section thinks I'm a little nuts. Dear Husband has been known to shake his head upon hearing of the day's mileage. He's also seen me close to having heat stroke and shows a significant amount of restraint when I run at odd times (10 p.m. run, anyone?) or in less-than-ideal weather (it's only a few inches of snow. I'm sure they plowed the street by now!).
My non-runner friends at work are supportive, but they just don't get why I bring my running shoes with me when we travel when there's sleeping to be done after what can be 12-hour-plus days. (I once ran around the block until I reached one mile when the motel we were staying at didn't have a treadmill just so I wouldn't break my streak.)
My long-time friends smile and make polite noises. They've been through several of my phases (tae kwon do, Jillian Michaels, yoga). I don't think they believe I've found "my sport."
Frankly, sometimes, I wonder if my cheering section is plotting to have me institutionalized.
That's why runners need friends who are crazy like them
It takes a certain kind of personality to be a runner. I can think of some words to describe a lot of my running friends: Determined. Disciplined. Dogged. (Oh, look, alliteration!).
They're also generous, encouraging and welcoming. All traits that make for good friends and for good employees, for that matter.
A few of my long-time friends are runners. I even run with one of my dearest friends several times each month; it's usually my favorite run of the week. We're still working on solving all the world's problems, but in the meantime, we work through our toughest work- or family-related situations. And sometimes, we come up with crazy ideas (let's sign up for a marathon relay!). Regardless, the runs are always productive -- and not just in the mileage department.
I hope that you've been able to find some of these crazy folks in your life, no matter how far you've gone in your running journey. But if you haven't, stay tuned for another post about running groups that might just fit the bill.