She approaches me like most newbies do, shyly (is that even a word?) with a bit of apprehension and reverence. She’s slightly nervous about divulging her plans to do a half marathon — her first — to a “real” runner, a race veteran who has done so many 13.1-milers that she stopped counting years ago.
But she really wants to know what I think. Should she do it? Can she do it?
She wants my advice on training. What do I think of this plan versus that plan? She has a thousand questions, and I delight in answering them.
She has no idea how much I enjoy this. How much I need this. To feed off this energy from the new ones. To encourage. To inspire. To gently nudge another to put on the shoes that will do nothing less than change every single thing about her life.
I don’t think she can do it. I know she can. She does, too. She just needs to hear it from me. She needs that boost of confidence and assurance that all those increasing miles will eventually lead to a finish line.
Not that she’ll stop.
She’ll keep going. Buoyed by her personal accomplishment, she’ll do more half marathons or she’ll up the ante and go for the full 26.2.
Along the way, she’ll encourage those around her —family, friends, coworkers, old high school chums, and even perfect strangers — wittingly or unwittingly.
And one day one of those people will shyly mention to her that they have been “kinda running” and thinking about doing a race. And she will know the pure joy of shepherding a new runner to the start line.
Newbies: don’t ever be afraid to talk to veteran runners (especially here in Erie). Don’t be intimidated by 6-minute-milers or 50-state marathoners. We’ve all been in your brand-spanking-new running shoes and, truth be told, we’d give anything to be in them again – back in those honeymoon years of running when a 10-mile long run was cause for celebration, not just the Saturday morning status quo.
Ask us questions. Take pride in and share your accomplishments with us, no matter how minor you think they are. They’re not minor, and we know that. We, of all people, truly know that.
About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”