“You’re like the Pied Piper of Waterville, Ohio,” my boyfriend said.
Not that I want to be compared to a character who apparently led rats and kids to their deaths (thanks for the refresher course Wikipedia), but I could see where he was going with it...
The Pied Piper comment came during a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. My nose was my buried in my iPhone at the time. My older sister Michelle, along with a family friend Doug, had just finished a 5K near my Ohio hometown that morning. They are both newer runners, and were texting me about the race.
I’ve been fielding a lot of running questions from Doug and Michelle lately. I think it’s sweet they ask me, but I also think it’s a little funny because I don’t consider myself an expert. I’m just a girl who runs every day, no matter if the wind chill is 8 or if I’m on vacation. I love to run. It’s strange to think of myself as someone new runners look up to like my sister and Doug do.
This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself as running inspiration. During my senior year in college I used to get up at 4:45am to run. I saw myself as eccentric for getting up so early and running. But apparently it wasn’t that strange because one by one, my boyfriend, my best friend, and my roommate all started to tie on their tennis shoes and hit the treadmill in the fitness center, too.
When I was in my mid-twenties, a guy I was dating would say things like “I don’t know why you run. You’re always hurt. You should do yoga or take aerobics classes instead. Running isn’t good for you.” I ignored him, mostly because he had no idea what he was talking about. I kept running. And guess what. He ended up eating those words a couple years later when he started running.
I never asked any of them to run. Heck, I was a little annoyed because my run was my alone time, and when friends started asking to join, I felt a little like they were invading on my space. (I never spoke up, though. I figured the benefits running would have on their lives was much more important than my alone time.)
You may be running alone, but people are watching - and not in the creepy-guy behind the trees way. Your friends and family and co-workers are watching you. They’re watching you get up early on weekends to run. They’re watching when you hit the trail instead of the company cafeteria during lunch hours. Your runs may be planting seeds in other people’s heads, even if you’re not trying.
I love that running is infectious! Has this happened to you? I’d love to hear about it.