Routinely, I'm reminded that even though I run alone quite a bit, I'm usually not alone.
I got out of work around 5:30 yesterday -- which constitutes early at my job -- so I jetted home to leash up Callie the dog and go for a nice dusk run through the neighborhood. Callie, of course, was stoked. Just the sight of her leash in my hands makes her jump in circles (I'm not lying about this). We loped through the neighborhood, cruising down some different streets to make the run longer because the evening, after a day of rain, had cleared nicely and the air smelled great. There was even still a little pink left in the corner of the sky, illuminating those receding rain clouds like cotton candy.
Along the way I chatted Callie about my day and, admittedly, was rather oblivious to the people around us. This happens a lot when I run. I forget that I'm talking aloud to myself or Callie, forget that other people are around ...
Last night, I got a couple of funny looks and one woman, who snuck up on us because of the darkness, declared "Oh, how cute!" I'd like to think me telling Callie about a guy I have a crush on was the cute part, but it might have just been Callie's furry 90 pounds thundering down the pavement.
It could have been worse, I suppose. Once, running out of Nisene Marks after tumbling down a hill, twisting my ankle and getting road (trail?) rash down one lower leg, I sang the chorus of Tim McGraw's "It's Just the Cowboy in Me" and cried to get through the pain of running 3.5 miles on two bum, bleeding legs. In the fall, when Rich and I ran that 50K in mountains here, I gave myself a four-miles-to-go pep talk that went something like this:
"You can run four miles Squires. You've run four miles before. You've run four miles backwards. You've run four miles in your sleep. You've run four miles drunk. You've run four miles naked. You've run four miles drunk, naked, backwards and in your sleep. It's just four miles"
There were young families walking baby strollers nearby. I think I scared them.
... At least Callie understands me.
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"So be prepared to quit. Do it willingly and with honest resolve. You'll be back. The marvelous thing about running is that you will never become jaded by it. Boredom, injury or anguish may overtake you from time to time, but the reward that first drew you to begin logging the miles remain untarnished and available -- always. Just put on your shoes and head out the door."