|Long Distance Relationships|
Long distance relationships
On the way out the door to meet my son for an indoor track meet last Friday he sent me a text saying he was running the distance medley relay with Nick and Brandon.
Really? Nick who has been his running nemesis since middle school? The Ionia guys who had been the number one rivals throughout the cross country season? The same guys who taunted Alex's team on the way to the state meet by placing Ionia signs on the freeway right at the Mason exit? Hmmm. Nope, I'm not surprised they are running a relay together.
I learned awhile back that regardless of age, distance folks are a different breed. There is a bond of respect that one finds among those of us who run/walk distance. They might be the fierce competitors in a run, but the best of friends once they cross the finish line. Now, I have to admit, I'm not all that familiar with other sports, so this phenomena may be evident there as well, but I have to say from the sidelines, folks who do distance are different.
Now, don't stop reading because you think you don't do distance. Anyone who challenges themselves to run or walk a 5K or more is a distance athlete (and yes, you're an athlete).
The unique thing about this breed is the camaraderie and respect folks have for each other. And the longer the distance the more you see it. It's that word of encouragement, the offer to share an energy bar. It's the heartfelt cheers. The silence and the gentle sound of footfalls as you and a newly found friend pound out the last few miles of a long journey. It's the crazy things you talk about to keep your mind off how much it hurts. It's the adventure stories of all the training, the foot of snow you ran through, the rain drops that you dodged.
Only other runners/walkers can really relate. They know the strength it takes to get out of bed on a cold, icy morning. The dedication to get one more training day in. They know the good feeling of sore muscles and looking at that set of stairs with dread after a long weekend run/walk. Only a distance athlete can understand.
There are stories of ultra runners who finish their run (in some unbelievable time that equates to something crazy like a 7 minute mile pace for 50miles) and will greet every person in that race, even if it means waiting around for another twelve hours. Why? Because that's what distance folks do. They wait. They help. They cheer. They know the pain, mentally and physically. They know what it takes to get to the starting line. The dedication, hard work and endless questions about your sanity.
Yes, being a distance athlete you are different. You are proud of what you can accomplish (as you should be). You have respect for those who can do wait you do, because you know it's not easy.
It's good to be different.