Here's a few of them:
- Basketball mama - only see her out on Saturday and Sunday mornings. She runs in basketball shorts or what I would consider them basketball shorts and a sleeveless tshirt...always. And she's fast. She's a runner but not one of those hard core types. I'd guess she doesn't run any races and she just runs because it's her me time. Plus her feet pound the pavement and I can always hear her coming up from behind me. I'd say she's a mom to 4 boys....just my guess. What? I gotta think of something while out on my runs??
- Water bottle Mama - This lady is serious and I'm guessing she's doing 20 miles each weekend. I see her when I'm out early (7ish). She wears 2 water bottles on her belt around her waist and a towel....yeah that's serious. She's definitely training and in the zone. Her feet don't pound the pavement, can't hear her coming but I swear every time I turn a corner she's there somehow. She probably cuts through people's yards to make me look bad I'm convinced! Honestly not sure if she's a mama at all, I'd guess so but her kids are probably older.
- Dude who Fakes Pain - This guy I cannot for the life of me figure out how he runs and how he's actually fast the way he runs. His form is funky and the first couple of times I saw him out from a distance I swore he was in pain. I think he does this to fool the other runners and then your eating his dirt because you kind of felt sorry for him for a second and slowed down. I do not like running with him out and about...he makes me look bad....can't be having that now!
- Old Dude - This guy is amazing. I'd guess he's in his late 60's maybe even 70s. He makes me just want to stop and be amazed at him. I wanna be able to do that in my late age.
- New Girl on the Block - This girl...is who this post is really about. This entire summer I would see her with her husband and their 2 kids out at the community park in our neighborhood. Often times I would see her go for a walk while her husband watched the kids at the park. Wasn't really sure why...but she did. She'd barely make eye contact with me whenever I passed her, just a soft smile. I never saw her going very far away from the park so just figured she was doing the skinny girl work out "Oh I'm so fat I need to workout" and they breathe and lose 10lbs. Yes I am a hater...get over it! :)
But then one day I saw her jogging from the park. WHaaaaat??? Wow that is great I remember thinking. You go girl!
Well guess who I saw at the 5k the other weekend....her. Even though I knew there was no way she could be ready...I never saw her more than a block from the park where her husband and kids were....I was unbelievable excited and proud of her. Signing up for a 5k when you KNOW you can't finish it, is a huge step in the right direction! That takes a huge leap of stepping out of your comfortable zone and just doing it. I was inspired by her.
I was just ahead of her in the starting line at the 5k and I never saw her again the rest of the day, I hope she had a great race but I thought of her a lot that race. Not specifically of her but realize how I a runner but still pretty new at it looked at her. How I was inspired by her when I saw her go from walking to running and at the 5k.
And it hit me....that has got to be how all experienced runners look at newbies. They aren't judging us newbies by our lack of form or old tennis shoes or cotton tshirts and cotton shorts. They know how hard it is to run, it's not easy no matter where you are in your level but to start out and stay committed that's inspiring!
It made me realize that all those years I was afraid to look like a newbie and I didn't want to stand out as not being a true runner yet when in reality, I had nothing to worry about.
I think back to all of my runs and to those people that I saw who were new or starting out or I was faster than....I never once thought of a negative thought in my head about them. Never.
Those people that I described above...they saw me going from a walker to a runner. They saw me walking a block and then running 3 blocks and having to stop. They have also seen me go from just walking to only running in my workouts. And thinking about this new girl on the block makes me realize how newbies having NOTHING to be afraid of or embarrassed about. Go run anyways! Seeing her go from walking to running was an unbelievable moment for me and I don't even know her name or the sound of her voice but man that takes some commitment to work up to!
Newbies belong out on the road just as much as the experienced runners and you should never let that stop you. Running is for you and you alone. Others watching you on your journey is just a bonus to them and they are the lucky ones who get to see it happening.
Those runners above who I've made my own little stories about in my mind have never once given me any indication of judging me EVER while out on my runs. They acknowledge me like I've always been there, like I belonged. Realizing this at this past 5k and seeing the new girl on the block made me realize I never had anything to worry about in the first place of what people would think of me. Running is literally YOUR OWN JOURNEY and those in the running community are not those who you should be worried about. I know I was so intimidated by them at first but after this summer I've realized that was never the case at all.
So if you are a newbie to the running community...don't shy away...you belong there just as much as anyone else! YOU are actually inspiring someone and you probably don't even realize it! :)