The Fraternity of Runners

I was traveling this weekend and was struck once again at the incredible generosity of and immediate sense of kinship that exists in the running community. Because I’m injured and just a little bit obsessed, I had my foam roller (my little grid guy, not a huge foam roller, I’m not TOTALLY crazy) on the plane and it was sticking out of my carry on bag. I flew through Phoenix (the site of this weekend’s Rock and Roll Marathon) and despite doing my best to look unfriendly and busy I heard, “can I sit here?”

As I was getting organized the woman sitting next to me said, “oh are you an injured runner?” I was a little confused because as much as I’d like to think that I look like Kara Goucher, I don’t think you can tell that I’m a runner just by looking at me. Then I saw my bright orange foam roller and realized I’m an idiot. I responded, “yes, I’m having some IT band issues and it’s making me mad.” As it turns out the sweet lady next to me, Ana, was also struggling through IT band issues and is an active runner. We started talking and chatted for about an hour and a half about training plans, injuries, races, communities, goals… and although we couldn’t be more different– she’s Texan, I’ll be a Californian unitl the day I die, she has 4 kids and I don’t have any, she’s a stay at home mom, I’m a little bit of a workaholic– we had immediate common ground and enough to talk about to make the flight fly by (haha, great pun I know). I got off the plane, we hugged and exchanged contact info and I was amazed– who knew a foam roller could help me make a friend?

Seriously though– how great is it that being a runner allows you to make conversation with all kinds of people? I felt so bad for the runners on my flight who had run the marathon and were clearly in a ton of pain. One guy even paced in the aisles becaue he was, “afraid if he sat down he may not get up again.” It did not make me want to tackle 26.2 miles any time soon. I let him know that I literally felt his pain, but I don’t think hearing that I was still suffering 6 weeks after running a marathon was very encouraging. Oops.

I do think, though, that there is something about spending hours pounding the pavement that is somewhat leveling. Fast, slow, thin, chubby, old, young… we are all putting ourselves out there and trying to do our best each and every day. So no matter how different our goals or where we are in our running careers in a lot of ways we are all the same. And that’s pretty fun.


Recovering continues to go well but it is very slow. I can run, but only 5-6 miles at a time and I’ve definitely lost speed. It’s frustrating but a good opportunity to practice patience and to run because I love it not because I’m chasing a goal. And at least I can run– that’s a huge step in the right direction. I hope I continue to improve and that I can increase my mileage. I hope. I hate feeling broken! Hopefully I’m learning the lessons I need to and getting as much out of this as I would a block of productive training.

I also enjoyed a run in the bay area wtih Aron for her birthday. I was glad to be healed in time to join the girls and also earn a GIANT breakfast afterward. Happy birthday Aron! I’m so glad we’re friends!!!!


8 responses to “The Fraternity of Runners

  1. Gosh I hope you get past this injury quickly..

    I am going through the Tall Mom 1,000+++ club and realized I don’t have your info. Please go to the link below and email me your info so I can add you to the club:

  2. That’s a cool story about meeting a runner on a plane. And cool you’ll keep in touch. I met Joan Benoit Samulson on a plane once; she was running a race in my hometown of Davenport, IA (The BIX 7, a huge race with lots of elites. Go figure). She wasn’t overly friendly though and we are not bff’s. Darn.

    Very fun you got in a birthday run with the girls!

  3. I completely agree with you – running and all the stuff that comes with it (success, disappointments, injuries, hard work!) creates an incredible bond very quickly with people. I think it also shows that a lot of the things we feel separate us from others (workaholic vs SAHM, CA vs Texas) may be not quite as important in defining us as we may think .. there is an honesty about putting yourself out there on the road and setting yourself goals that cuts through a lot of other “outside” stuff…

  4. Being a runner makes the world seem just a little bit smaller, doesn’t it? Love that you carried your foam roller on the plane with you! I wonder if I will be able to take my rolling pin on my carryone when I go to Boston? Hmmmm…..
    And awesome run over the weekend – you guys really surpirsed her! So jealous! I really need a running buddy – I am in the dumps lately with my reg running route and no friends. I gotta work on it – I wish you lived closer!!!

  5. Great story, it’s definitely amazing how something little like running seems to give us common ground with people we normally wouldn’t have any. Keep up the good work. Injuries suck but you are doing great!

  6. That’s such a sweet little anecdote! I definitely feel like there is a strong community between runners. I always try to smile at my fellow crazies ๐Ÿ™‚
    Glad you’re running again, and good luck! I hope the injury goes away and never comes back!

  7. that is too cool! ๐Ÿ™‚ i love the quick friendships formed over running. immediate bond!

    lol about the guy pacing the aisle… the post-marathon tightness is no fun!

  8. I haven’t done the post-marathon plane ride yet, but I imagine it’s even worse than the car ride. Hope you liked Austin!

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