As you know if you are a follower of this blog (if not, just scroll down, it's the last post), I had shoulder surgery earlier this year. In the interest of updates, my shoulder is doing quite well. I haven't had an problems with it since the surgery. (Knock on wood!) But the unanticipated consequence of shoulder surgery is that there are very few exercises that you can do for a good long while. No kind of weights that require your arms, no swimming, no biking. Even leg and ab weights sometimes pull on your shoulder in ways you don't expect. And most importantly - no running. You use your arms a surprising amount when running, in case you didn't know. On doctor's orders, I couldn't run for six months after the surgery.
So for the better part of a year, I have been completely off running. (I didn't do much running before the surgery because I always gave myself a week or so off when i dislocated my shoulder and that usually happened every other week or so before hand.) For someone who was already not a good runner to begin with, getting back into running has been rather difficult. Even once I was given the all clear, I couldn't go very far and it was very discouraging. I would go here and there, but was never very consistent. I even like running! And I had races to train for. (But, you know I'm not good at training for races.)
A few months ago, I received some motivation in a surprising place - I got a running buddy at work. Since I do run races sometimes, people often ask me about running. Often people ask if they can run with me, but it comes to nothing*. So, when this guy asked if he could run with me, I said yes, but didn't really think it would pan out. And actually - it hasn't really panned out. Since he first asked me to be his running buddy, we have run together a grand total of one time. We plan to run together a lot but something always comes up for him - he has to work late, or cover for someone, or he has a meeting come up, or a deadline, or his daughter is sick, or some other honestly legitimate excuse. So, I have a perpetual running buddy who never actually comes running with me.
I don't actually know anything about my running buddy who never actually comes with me. I have no idea if he is married, single, divorced, if he likes to read, where he lives, how old he is, or even his regular work hours. Here is a list of things I know about him:
1. His name and his job title, but not what he actually does at work.
2. He has at least one daughter who is sometimes sick.
3. He says he likes running, but never comes with me.
But the thing about having a running buddy who never comes with me, is that it actually gets me to go running. We make plans to run, and then my running buddy backs out, but I've brought my gear to work, and I've already planned to go, so I go. It is a very strange motivator to go running because your running buddy consistently doesn't run with you. But it's been a pretty good system for the last few months. I've been loads better at consistently running.
This was all just running through my head on my run today after work, when my running buddy who doesn't run with me once again canceled our run (he had a late meeting scheduled). I was having a really crappy run. I didn't run last week because I had a cold and I didn't run the week before because of Thanksgiving. And I just got new shoes that still need some breaking in. And it was cold. (Virginia cold at least - not Ohio or Utah cold, but I'm starting to get acclimated to the weather here.) So I was silently cursing my running buddy who doesn't run with me because if not for him, I would have just gone home. (But I figured since I had my gear, I might as well go.) A car stopped for me to cross the street as I was plodding along and stayed still for longer than was really necessary. I looked at the driver and mouthed "thank you" and suddenly he gave me a huge thumbs up and said (or possibly also mouthed - the windows were up so I couldn't tell), "Good Job!" And I knew that I wasn't really doing a good job, but it still made me feel good. Like somehow I was winning.
And I was winning. And I'm not talking about beating all the other people that weren't out there. I was just winning myself. I was beating that other Kristin that had just wanted to go home and not run in the cold. I was out there getting better at running and being the running Kristin and not the Kristin that always finds excuses not to run. And you know what? It was still a really crappy run. It was still hard and cold and my feet still hurt, but I was still out there. And as I approached the end of the run to the last hill back up to my car, I passed another runner who just gave me a big high five - just kind of a "yeah, we're runners together!" And I made it up the last hill and finished my run and felt good. There's probably a metaphor or something in there for you; you'll have to find it yourself.
And there's no real point to this post. Just that that I'm running again thanks to my running buddy who never runs with me. I'm sure we'll plan to run together again and, who knows, maybe we'll actually run together again sometime. But for now it just feels good to be back on the running band wagon.
*. One girl asked how far I usually go, to which I replied, usually three miles. She asked, "How long does that take - about 2 hours?" She did not make the cut.