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!!!!