When not every result was “AWEsome!”

At today’s 5K race, I had a conversation with a runner that I met back in 1997. We talked about how we met; she said “those were good times”. I immediately agreed.

Now what was meant by that?

The situation: I had joined a running group (“Team Steam”) in the summer of 1997; the idea was to get “group coaching” so as to improve my running times. Then in the next year, I joined the IVS marathon training group in hopes of running a decent marathon.

I have vivid memories: I remember all of the colorful running gear. I remember the sense of community, people pushing each other, etc. I also remember how the interactions went. Most people knew who could run what sort of time, and we shared both joy and disappointment when we saw our results. I was disappointed with my 3:46 at the Chicago marathon, and one of the Running Central guys winced in sympathetic pain upon hearing my time. I WAS looking for 3:30.

So, I’ll list some factors which might be missing today:

1. I was recently “born again” into running; I had a hiatus from the running community from 1985 to 1995, at which time I gained to 320 pounds and lost it all. So this was a “return of the Prodigal Son” sort of thing. I wept when I finished my first “post morbid obesity” 5K (23:15 in 1996).

2. The body worked better; though I wasn’t a “runner” I still finished much higher up the pecking order than I do now.

3. I was in the “improvement stage” of my running. I never got to my “early 20’s” times, but I moved from 23:15 to 19:53 in the 5K.

4. I was meeting new people.

5. The atmosphere was slightly different. Today the conversation goes something like this: “I finished a 5K in xx:xx”. Reply: “Oh, that’s AWEsome!” In that era: “I finished a 5K in xx:xx” was met by “Wow..that’s a PR, isn’t it? Or “sounds rough; there are days like that” or “wow..conditions must have been tough”. When the response you get actually depends on the result you give, you get the impression that the person you are talking to has made an effort to get to know you! There was something a bit more intimate about that than a token “AWEsome” response.

I think that this “happy face, everyone is AWEsome” culture is colder and less intimate.


May 28, 2016 - Posted by | Friends, running |

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