Sunday, April 17, 2011

Help with the Hills

It's 36 degrees out there. Thirty-six?! Rly? Spring is acting like my brother who nearly had to be induced when my mom was a few weeks past the due date. (That's a question: who past the due date, mom or baby?) How does one induce spring artificially, and what are the potential consequences?

Anyway, I'm just about to go on out for a long run, and it has me thinking about the race I did last week. The run itself was fine, but even more interesting were the conversations along the way. Most of the time, I prefer to run the same way I prefer to fly on an airplane--without talking to the strangers around me. But long-distance running can get awfully boring, so runners often move from conversational partner to conversational partner depending on gait and goal time.

One woman was from Canada, but given that we were on Whidbey Island at the time, she was closer to home than I was. We chatted for awhile, she was a runner at about my pace and strength level, so it was reasonably comfortable. All of a sudden, half-way up one of the bigger hills, she said, "Talk to me. I want to walk."

So we talked. About nothing in particular except that we were doing fine, all was well, no one needed to walk, we could see the crest of the hill (never mind that there was snow on it, and Mallory's remains), etc. etc. We got to the top just fine and then got separated at the next water stop.

Many runners invest a lot of ego in being runners: I know I do. So asking for help and admitting you want to walk is a big deal. And she was running really strong at that point; I was surprised when she said she was thinking about walking.

I looked for her at the finish line, but I couldn't find her, so I don't know the end of her story. I'm sure she did well.

This little tale has neither punch line nor happy ending (nor ending at all, really), but it made me wonder if I'd ever be brave enough and strong enough to do what she did and reach out, ego and all, for help getting up the hill.

No comments: