Since I began running, just 2 1/2 years ago, I’ve had many folks offer to run with me. Some were trying to be supportive, and help me over whatever hump I needed to get over. Others were just good friends who wanted to be with me and have fun and again, be supportive. And a few runners I met last month, just wanted another person to run with, or were trying to get a running group together, so wouldn’t I like to join them?
Here’s the thing: If I HAD to run with other people, then I probably wouldn’t run at all. I’m too self-conscious, too worried that I sound and look like I’m dying (or look like a wounded giraffe, because in fact I do). I can’t talk while I run. I’d want to go as fast as you and would hurt myself doing it. Or I’d feel bad that you had to slow down for me.
I know there are many advantages to having running partners or groups, but right now I am trying to do things that would NOT make me feel bad about myself. And honestly? Running with another person would have the opposite effect of what you, my fellow running friends, intend. You’d want to be supportive and encouraging, but all you’d do, completely inadvertently mind you, would be to make me feel inferior.
Would I still run in the same race as you? YES! Would I still go shopping for running shoes with you? OF COURSE! Would I still want to talk about running and all the joys and heartbreaks that go along with it? FOREVER AND EVER UNTIL MY TONGUE FALLS OUT! Would you just try and run a few miles with me? Just once? *SIGH* I’m sorry, but no.
You probably think I’m nuts, and that’s completely ok. I think that sometimes, too. I appreciate every single request to run with another person. I feel honored, in a way. I want to shout, “You like me, you like me!” And if you feel the need to keep asking me to run with you, that’s ok, too. But if I turn you down for the hundredth time, just remember that it’s not you, it’s me.