Saturday, February 23, 2013

Only Your Runner Friends Will Understand

I had the distinct honor to be selected by my State PTA to participate a year long leadership academy.  As a part of the program, they assembled last year's graduates with this year's candidates for two days of training and lobbying.  I was able to meet with the State PTA board, PTA leaders from across this great state, as well as our Senators and Representatives.  It was a truly empowering and amazing experience.  I could write pages about my 48 hours in Austin, but because this is a running blog, I'm going to cut to the chase.

During our networking, one person said, "One of the coolest part about this training is that you get to meet people who are as passionate about education and advocacy as you get to make PTA friends...and only PTA friends get your passion for PTA.  Regular friends and family members probably don't care about House Bill 5 as much as you do, and don't understand your obsession double checking your 990's."

And that's so true.  When I start talking about my concerns with the 4x4 plan, educational spending cuts, and providing 5,000 snacks/bottles of water for our poverty stricken children, most of my friends' eyes glaze over.   A lot of my best friends and family members don't relate with my passion (they may say obsession) with PTA related items.  And that's okay.

Because the same thing is true with running.  Regular friends and family members probably don't care about running as much as you do.
Really, I dare you to bring up how awesome your compression sleeves are next time you're at happy hour with your coworkers.  "Dude, these new Zoot's are rocking!  My legs bounced back after that last 20 miler!" will probably be received with, "Huh?  WTF? Zoot Suit Riot?"

But your running friends will respond with, "Really?  Are they as well fitting as the CWX?  Would you recommend them over Zensah?  Where'd you get them?  Really?  Are they better than RunOn?  Have you checked's prices?  Oh but the service is better there?"  It'll become a thrilling, hour long discussion on all things compression."

You don't talk to your wine drinking party friends about chafing.  Or diaper rash.  If you even told your mall walking friends what Glide is for, and where you've actually applied it, they may vomit.  But your running friends will suggest you perhaps try alternate brands.  I had an hour long discussion on electrolytes with one of my BRF's (Best Runner Friends) last week.   And it could have gone longer, if the kids hadn't needed dinner. 

Runners can be obsessive, and only other runners get that obsession.  Running can be disgusting, and only other runners get that.

When you say, "I want to run another marathon!" or "I can not WAIT to run the Route 66 Marathon this fall!" your runner friends will say, "That's great!"  Your regular friends will say, "Why the heck would you WANT to do THAT?"

When you announce that you're considering training for an ultra marathon (50 K or more) your regular friends will question your sanity and offer you a ride to the psychiatric hospital.  Your runner friends will ask if they can run with you and volunteer you a the race. 

Runners use weird words.  And abbreviations.

Your runner friends will listen to your stories.  They'll share their own.  Your runner friends will lift you up when you're unsure, and you know they MEAN it, because they've been there too.  Running brings people together.  Through running, I've strengthened friendships, and built new ones, too.  Some of my best buds are those that I run many miles with.

I'm so glad for my runner friends.  My family members are probably relieved that I've got running friends, to blather on to as well.