Lately I've been feeling like running is sort of my best friend. In an environment where the "cool" thing to do is go out and drink (lots) on multiple nights in a week (fun), it is sort of hard to get people to relate to what is going on in your life. Even harder is trying to relate to what is going on in theirs. As a result, I think I've started investing more in running than I have in relationships with the people I interact with face to face on a daily basis. This excludes a few choice individuals and mostly refers to people that I would qualify as acquaintances.
The good news is that this week, Running and I have been having a really good time together. Last night was what turns out to be the first "official" Team in Training workout. I thought it had been last Saturday, but I was wrong. Apparently it was last night, at which point I ran back and forth from E 96th to E 85th to practice my speed and running intensity. It was fun, actually. A good break from the usual evenly-paced loop around the park (or the indoor track at the gym...yawn).
Another thing about this workout was that it showed me what it was like to go hang out with a bunch of runners. This was a cool experience for a few different reasons. For one thing, I didn't feel like I didn't fit in, which is somewhat rare in these days when most of my classmates are still hung over at 2 p.m. I'm not saying that I am completely BFF with all of these people, but it was comfortable to feel that I was surrounded by other people who had chosen to pile on the layers and brave the cold just to run. No one looked at me like I was insane. Even better, though, was that I felt like a runner. This has been a real sticking point for me--the inability to feel like a runner in spite of logging what may add to thousands of miles over several years. I have finally made it to a point where I feel like I am part of this club, and not someone who is just clamoring to get in anymore. This may sound cheesy, but I think of it as a real personal triumph, and I feel really good about it. Moreover, it has helped me to realize that there's nothing wrong with not going out on drinking benders several times a week (or at all, for that matter). Personally, I would much rather be a runner.