Monday, August 8, 2016

Running Friends

If you're like me you have two (or more) sets of friends.  Running friends and regular friends.

Most of your regular friends are people you made a decision to become close to for some reason or another.  Maybe they were your neighbor, or you worked together.  Maybe you have a common interest or even a friend in common.  Nonetheless, the common thread with all of these people is that for some reason you decided to create and form a friendship.  These friendships ebb and flow at times based on your common interests.  You switch jobs.  You give up stamp collecting.  You move.  These friends also tend to change.  There are people in my life that were critical connections a decade ago that now....well... I can't even think of their last name.

Flatlanders Dog Days of Summer 8 Hour Fatass 08-06-16

It might just be me, but running friends seem different.  Obviously there are people in your running group or club.  They might start out like the friends described above.  But if you run long enough (meaning a long period of time) or long enough (meaning a really long distance) you might make a different kind of friend.  What I call my "running friends.

I can't tell you some of my running friend's names or what they do for a living.  I might not know the names and ages of their kids.    Nonetheless, the bond that you will make with people on the trails or on really long runs will be, in many way, more intimate than all of the other relationships in your life.  You'll tell them about your chaffage and diarrhea.  You'll tell them all your secret stories from your life, the stuff you would be afraid to tell anyone else, simply because it gets your mind off of the fact that you are suffering and will be for many more hours.  Some of these friends you'll keep in touch with on Facebook or Strava.  Others you won't even think of until the next time you bump into them at a race, and they won't mind your lack of contact at all.  You'll pick up right where you left off. There's just something about running friends that's different.

Sure, there are more than a few narcissists and drama queens and serial assholes, just like in any other social group.  But I submit that running friends are the best friends you'll have.  They'll know just what you need and when you need it.  They'll say the right thing to change your mindset.  They'll believe in you, even when you don't believe in yourself.

So next time you are out on a 30 mile training run, or 3/4 of the way through a long race look to your left and look to your right.  You're next best friend might be right there, waiting for you to lean on them.

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