Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Lone Runner

When I was a child, I never played sports. No little league baseball, no jr. high basketball, no high school soccer. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I dreaded gym like it was a trip to the dentist. And avoided participating in those neighborhood dodgeball games like they were the plague.

Call it spoiled only child syndrome. Blame it on the fact that I am an over achiever. Reduce it to the fact that I have a high level of guilt if I let people down. Admit that I was not an overly graceful kid (or adult!). Dwell on the fact that I got yelled at by one too many gym classmates for missing the ball. But team sports has never really been my thing.

I never wanted the weight of knowing that a bunch of other people were depending on my actions for success. And I also didn't want my accomplishments hindered by someone else's lack of preparation. So, I have always avoided team efforts as much as possible.

I think that is a large part of what has drawn me to running over the years. It requires nothing more than you and the road. No one for you to let down, no one to make demands of you, no one to disappoint if your own performance isn't quite up to par.

I have always been a lone runner, and I tend to prefer it that way. I have a hard time running with other people. Mainly because I am a slow runner, and therefore, have a hard time keeping up with them. I feel like I have to keep running at their pace instead of listening to my body and slowing down and speeding up accordingly. And I certainly have never mastered the whole talking and running thing. Usually, the only time I can successfully run with someone else is when we both just plug in the earphones, and off we go. And the runner has to be content to waddle along at my dreadfully slow pace.

On the downside of that, there isn't anyone there to share the highs with. No one to turn to and high five when you just ran your fastest mile ever. No teammates to congratulate you when you just finished your longest distance ever. There also isn't anyone to share the lows with. No one to remind you of why you love it on the days that you didn't make your desired distance. No one to brush off the dust when you missed your intended time. And in that regard, running feels lonely.

And that is where this journal comes in. It is a place for me to record my highs and lows. A place for me to share my experiences with others, even if most of you don't "get it." There are a handful of people that I know read this religiously, and to you I say a huge, huge thank you! In a lot of ways you are what keeps me going. Some days I only get out and run because I know you are expecting to be reading my entries. Some times the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that I am loved even when I fail. Some times it is your posts that remind me just why I am doing this. They remind me that Matthew can't give up on his fight against his leukemia, and therefore, I will NOT give up on mine.

I want to say thank you to everyone who keeps encouraging me, who signs my guestbook, leaves me comments, writes me emails, says kind words to me. I read every single one of them. And they mean a lot. A comment from someone actually brought me to tears last night. The wife of one of my old high school teachers wrote to me and said back when I was a student, her husband had said that I would succeed at whatever I set my mind on. What an unbelievably kind thing to say, and of a high school student none the less. So, thank you so much for all the encouragement. You are both my cheering section and my teammates!


  1. Michele--I'm one of those who keeps up with your posts, and the more I read, the more I'm certain you're going to be a finisher. That's saying a lot with that many runners on the circuit.
    Would like to be there to see you cross that finish line--but I'm here wishing you whatever it is you will need to accomplish that.

    Vera Ecker

  2. Michelle--
    I agree with you on so many levels. With 2 kids, running is the only time I can have peace. The only time I can listen to music with bad words in it, and the only time where no one will interupt me because they need something. Therefore, I like to run alone, but I do like to share my journey and the blog is a great place to do that. I will be checking in on you again.

  3. Michele... It is runners like you who give me the biggest inspiration as a coach. I see where you started and how hard you have worked to reach the finish line. Keep up the great work and I know you will be awesome as mentor.
    Mike Else TNT Coach

  4. i could basically copy/paste this onto my own blog and not a word of it would be untrue.

    the only child part. the no (in my case very little) sports part (which is why i excelled in music. it was up to me and me only!) the lone runner who needs it and likes it that way, but so longs for someone to run with, to share highs and lows with...

    and especially ESPECIALLY the part about turning to this blog and all the other amazing people to share my experiences with.

    know that you are never alone out there, you have the RBF, and just like the RBF encourages and inspires you, you do the same for us! keep it up. you WILL cross that finish line, and we'll all be there, even just in spirt, to cheer you on!