Runners love to talk about running. Endlessly. From posting selfies about their solo runs, their race results and medals to striking up conversations about running every chance they get: “How many miles are you running a week?” “Did you run that local 5K last weekend?” Or they make plans to meet up for a run at some ungodly hour of the morning. Runners love to talk to runners because, frankly, the only audience that remains captivated or doesn’t run away after hours of stories about races, training runs, terrain, pace, shoes, orthotics and everything that relates to running is one made up of other runners.
To be honest, in the absence of that common denominator, the conversations would be short and boring (to us runners), and many of those people we call friends would have remained strangers.
In addition to races and paces, there is something else runners love to talk about: aches and pains. It hurts here, and it hurts there, and everywhere. Does it hurt there too? Yes, and over there, but I’m running that half marathon next week anyway. You should too.
Runners are resilient, stubborn, gut driven, and not always able to make the best decisions. We can figure out the most complicated registration forms, find the most obscure sites, but don’t tell us not to run. We have a hard time with that. Following the advice of a doctor if it requires taking time off is not what we do best.
Maybe that’s why we don’t talk about running to anybody other than one of our own. Why risk the chance of a person saying:
WHAT??? You shouldn’t run. Running is bad for you. How you tried swimming? Why don’t you bike! It’s easier on your knees.
The answer is simple, my sensible nonrunner friend. It’s because I love running, and if you must ask, you would never understand.
It’s simple and it’s complicated. We run with passion, or we don’t run at all. The foot that strikes the ground doesn’t always feel the same way. Sometimes there is elation, and sometimes there is pain. Sometimes we are competing against someone, sometimes we are fighting to win our own internal battles. Sometimes we want to get somewhere, sometimes we want to get away. Passion keeps us going.
Talking to a friend about running is like being home. It’s where we hang our hat, kick off our sneakers, stretch that hamstring and say, “Damn, I could have run faster.”