“Respect.”

A week ago I had a long (-ish) Saturday morning run up and down the canyon.  It was a good run and a nice day.  I was feeling good so every runner I crossed, I did my best to grunt out, “Mornin’,” or give a small acknowledging wave.  Most met my eyes, and in that moment you quickly size each other up.  And in most cases it seemed that a brief, wordless communication took place.  “Respect.”  

Toned body, perfect form, nice racing flats, breathing well, you might be a pro out on the path this morning.  Or at least someone with a lot of experience and probably some talent.  Regardless, you’ve put in a lot of work.  And it’s paid off.  I hope to one day be able to run with speed and strength like you.

“Respect.”

You’re clearly a youngster.  In high school, possibly college.  And yet when some folks your age are starting this weekend by sleeping in you’re out here running.  I’ve only been running three years and it has taught me a lot about self-discipline and hard work.  I wish I had started running at your age so I could have started learning these lessons young.

“Respect.”

Greying hair, taught skin, shuffling gait, possibly questionable fashion choices.  And yet when some folks your age are in wheelchairs you’re out here running.  My biggest fitness goal is that I want to one day be you: an old runner.

“Respect.”

Race t-shirt, basic shoes.  Not very fast, but working hard.  I’m right there with you!  I know exactly what you’re going through and how it’s both challenging and rewarding.  Keep it up, buddy!  We’ve got this!

“Respect.”

Shuffling, wheezing.  I don’t know your story but I seriously admire you, friend, for getting out there and hitting the trail.  Keep working at it, and it gets better.  New runners: you inspire me.

“Respect.”

I read once that you know you’re a runner when you have respect for all runners of all abilities.  And as I looked in the eyes of that dozen people, I felt a great camaraderie with each and every one of them.  If you ever want to be inspired by people get to know runners; each has a great story to tell.

* * * * *

In other news, I had an awesome run Monday night.  Seven miles, eleven-minute pace (for me that’s good!), a fast final mile (I’ve taken to chanting “last mile fast mile” to myself), and though tired afterwards not too sore and I still had some reserves.  I’ll admit, I was holding my head a bit higher.

Which isn’t good because you trip over a big slice of humble pie.  This morning I couldn’t even do two miles because my legs hurt so much.  Probably shouldn’t have pushed so hard so soon after waking up.  And have worn my compression socks.  And taken an ibuprofen.

Called in late to work while I sat to ice ice ice and learn a lesson about running with pride.

* * * * *

Images not mine; click each image to be taken to the original image URL. 

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