My husband and I have begun running as our means of exercise and are beginning those long (to me) runs of over an hour. We live in a neighborhood that can accommodate shorter runs, but I grow weary sooner on these familiar paths. I suggested we take a 30-minute drive to a nearby lake, popular for bikers, runners, walkers, and dog-walkers. A beautiful day with mild temperatures proved to be ideal for our running adventure.
As we wound around the lake, several different people became part of the landscape, taking my attention away from my aching legs for just a moment:
Two middle-aged men walked their mid-sized brown furry dog. They appeared to be in no hurry, chatting with each other as I passed, then as they passed me, several times throughout the run. Always cordial, their sweet pet never flinched as we swapped the lead.
One especially dedicated and focused young man, complete with several running tattoos on his legs, drew my attention. He passed me rather quickly, but I was still able to glimpse his beautiful calf muscles, working seamlessly to propel his body forward. He paid me no mind as he dashed past.
A group of young teen boys was a little less patient with me, weaving back and forth, in front of me and then behind me. Because I had my music in, I was often startled as they whizzed by. My favorite wore a shirt touting “Oh, the places you’ll go.” Seus on the go!
My husband took off ahead of me in his lime green running shirt. Since he’s so much faster than I am, he turns around and joins me once he finishes his distance. Then, of course, he passes me. It’s always encouraging to see him far ahead, chugging along. His legs are so much longer than mine are that his distances always beat mine. But knowing he’ll always circle around to meet me reminds me of his kind, thoughtful heart.
Several families, kids in tow, passed me on the rented yellow bikes, smiling and shouting as they navigated around me. I was but a minor player in their afternoon adventure.
And yes, there were a couple women I encountered–one stopping often to take pictures of the lake, another trudging through, head down. I do believe I was the oldest of the women I saw running my part of the lake. At almost 55, that made me feel a bit proud. Even though I may not be the fastest runner, or the one with the best form, I did finish the “race” today.