This morning I ran to Seward Park and planned to loop the 2.5 mile path a few times to ensure controlled terrain for interval work amidst a 2 hour long run.
I always run the park clockwise. I’m not sure why – I literally have never run it counterclockwise – because it never fails that the majority of traffic is head on. But when I have the kind of workout that lends itself to running a loop over and over and over again that traffic is almost helpful. Seeing other people’s faces helps to remind me to focus on what I’m doing; my brain feels as though they are watching me approach and so I don’t let up.
I tried to make sure I gave every runner a smile and nod today in light of what happened in Boston, and I definitely got more than my fair share back. One older man even sat on a bench cheering every runner that went by, arms waving in the air complete with hollering. He looked as happy as I was to receive cheers every time I gave him the thumbs up and thanked him.
On the start of my third loop a man who I’d now seen three times waved and nodded (for the third time) and as I passed he joked, “How many times are you gonna run around here?” I smiled and facetiously told him this was it for today, and that then I’d be out of his way.
As I finished my final loop, now almost out of the park, I saw him for the fourth time. He was headed back in. As he approached he removed his headphones and told me he was gearing up for one more, and that I had inspired this final lap.
I wish I’d seen him again to tell him that he – along with the cheering man – inspired my miles home.
Running is a solitary sport. Except that it isn’t at all.
Moments like this are why I started this blog in the first place, moments that make you fall in love with how sport brings us together and what it teaches us, all over again.