The look of runners

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One of the coolest things about racing is seeing all the different types of runners. With the exception of elite runners, there doesn't seem to be a body type that all runners possess, and I like that. Running doesn't discriminate, because whether you're fast or slow, you're still doing better than if you weren't running at all. 

I remember my first ever 5K in the summer of 2009. I was talked into it at the last minute by my dear friend Janet (J). It was called the Friendship 5K. It was fate, she said, so we had to do it. I'd only been running about a month, and was fairly nervous by the time we arrived for the evening race. 

When we got there, runners were all over. Some were running to warm up (a trend I've never believed in), some were stretching, some were eating, some were sitting, most were standing. I remember looking around and feeling totally intimidated. How many races had these people run? They had to be more experienced than I was. 

I remember one runner in particular. She looked like a barbie doll -- long blond hair pulled into a high ponytail, matching Nike moisture wicking tank top and running tight capri pants. She had on swanky shoes and walked around like she owned the place. "Holy crap," I thought, "what am I doing here?" I was wearing a pair of shorts I often sleep in and a tank top that came out of my "junk" exercise clothes drawer (the things I don't wear to Jazzercise in). 

When the race started, I just started running. I quickly lost the group of ladies I'd come with. I'd also, stupidly, forgotten my iPod, so I had a lot of time to listen to feet pounding the pavement and my own breath going in and out far too quickly since my music usually drowned it out. I wasn't paying attention to much except trying to follow the course, so I really wasn't noticing when I got passed, or, on a rare occasion, when I passed people. I did, however, notice when children with legs half my length went flying past, but that's another blog. 

After I finished and was trying to locate the rest of my group, I finally started to look at the people around me. Tall, short, young, old, skinny, graceful, powerful, muscular, injured... it didn't matter. We were all there for the same reason. We were all there to run. 

And that's the beauty of running... there's not one type of runner. Running is a sport that'll take anyone who chooses to try it out. Running accepts everyone. There's no one to compete with except yourself. And I love that. 

Oh, and the super fit runner in the perfect running outfit? I finished a solid four minutes before she did. Not that it's a competition... 


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