I got out for a Thanksgiving run this morning. It was a late run, because I had to make a cake and a veggie side dish first, so by the time I was out on the path it was fairly deserted. My workouts have been feeling pretty logey lately, and today was no exception. My ankle’s been twingey, and I was just trotting along, taking some idle walk breaks, when I spotted a runner way ahead of me on the path.
Immediately my game improved. I raised my head, lifted my feet, and picked up my pace just a little bit. I wasn’t racing, no, but I wondered if I might be able to gain on her before I turned around for home. I pushed myself and got closer. Finally I passed, and smiled happily at her. Raised my hand in the traditional runner’s salute.
Oh, she said, smiling, I was feeling pretty good out here until you just passed me…
I had a great time chasing you down! I responded.
I meant it - having a presence in front of me totally made my run. Just that tiny bit of irrelevant competition sped me up enough to get a great workout where that had not previously been on the table.
I made my turnaround - about 25 yards ahead - and met her again on the way back.
Her head was up, her feet were lifted, and she had definitely picked up her pace.
You motivated me, she called.
And today, there are a million things that I am thankful for, but one is the community of recreational runners. As a tribe, we are motivated by each other's successes, not lessened by them. This is exactly the way I love to be, and I am grateful to be able to be out there, still, in the company of runners.