Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Long Distance Runners (Not That Kind)

*Don't mind the smiley faces in the pictures below. If I haven't asked permission to post faces, I like to give people the privacy they deserve. :o)

I don't mean "runners who run long distances." I mean "runners who live far away from me and make me regret my choice of location."

I began thinking about this earlier today. Cori over at OlivetoRun.com posted about what running has taught her (you can read it here; it's very moving), and as I was ruminating on what running has taught me, the words changed a bit and I ended up thinking about what running has given me.

And one of those things, perhaps the most surprising and rewarding, is a reconnection with my far-away friends.

Distance can be a pain in the butt and a relationship killer. Unfortunately, after spending years bonding with girls through major childhood events, the magic of sisterhood, and small living spaces, my years as a student ended and we all went off in our own directions. And then there are those who have always lived far from me, and running has helped to strengthen those friendships, too.

KS (of Fast & the Furriest PR fame) and I were sorority sisters who shared a suite. We (and two others) were inseparable. Now her little, BE, has begun running as well, and completed her first half marathon recently! Even my little has decided to try her hand at running. Our support of one another has helped to solidify our sorority bond post-college, and we're hoping to gather all the AXOs who have become runners to participate in a race together...What a great reunion that will be!
BE is one of the most positive, energetic, and genuinely fun people I know (as you can see by her facial expression in above photo). She could make the most boring community service project a blast. I am dying to run a race with her!
While none of us ran in college, many of us have taken it up as we near the big 3-0. Whatever the reason (maybe we're seeking to rewind the aging process before we even really begin it), it's amazing to see how many of my friends have become runners. A few of them are friends from my childhood who I've reconnected with on multiple levels, running being one of them.

We went to elementary and middle school together, and I was able to reconnect with these ladies despite being a plane ride away. We found running separately from each other, but seeing their progress online helped us bridge the gap. Here we are atop Masada in Israel in June 2012.
Some of you may remember my mentioning AG; she's BG's best friend , and was one of my closest friends in middle school when I moved. We reconnected at BG's baby shower. I cajoled her into joining me for the 6 weeks to 6 miles running group, even though she's never been a runner. I intend to encourage her addiction to running as much as possible!
 There are those I never lost touch with, but through running have now found a deeper level of understanding.

The first friend I made when I moved to FL, BG has been with me through everything, even when she went off to live in various countries in Africa. She even came back stateside to be a bridesmaid at my wedding! Now that she's back home for awhile, I can't wait to run with her...but I'll need to be patient, as she's due to give birth any day now!
Some saw me through the hardest, darkest times in my life, making themselves irreplaceable, becoming a pillar in my life that upheld well-being, happiness, dignity, and honesty.

When ED and I met, neither of us were runners or in the best shape. Our friendship grew based on mutual loyalty, respect, and the ability to listen to hours-long conversations...
...we live on opposite sides of the States, but our love for running has made us closer than ever. Bucket list: run a race with ED. It has to happen.
Running has given new life to my relationships, and of course this makes sense. As runners, running becomes part of the fabric of our lives. It's in our very being, in our soul, and to share the love of running with those we care about outside of running...it adds depth that I cannot put into words. It's like...friendship inception. A bond within a bond within a bond...

Today, I am so grateful that I have been able to add another link in that chain that is friendship, not just with these ladies mentioned, but with so many others as well. I urge others: join the club! There's always space for more, we're a welcoming tribe, and your friends will thank you!

Have you inspired anyone in your life to begin running?

Do you like to run with others, or by yourself?

How has running changed your relationships?

ABK

6 comments:

Annie Crow said...

I haven't heard if I've inspired anyone else to begin running. I doubt I have since I'm kind of crazy lady when it comes to running and probably more intimidating than anything else.

I like to run with others when it's possible, but mostly I run by myself (and like the alone time).

And yes, I've had several friendships grow richer and deeper as a result of our shared love for running. And have made new friends!

Ali K. said...

One of the best things about running is meeting someone for the first time and discovering that person runs. It's like an instant bonding moment!

olivetorun.com said...

Thanks for including me, you're sweet- I responded to your questions on my blog today but I don't know if you get notifications so I wanted to make sure you went and checked :)

Ali K. said...

Thanks, I'll check it out!

Kimbo said...

Hooray! I'm famous. :) Great blog post. And I too am thankful that we have reconnected. And that we got to run a race together in which we both did fabulously.

To answer your questions:
1. No, I don't really think so. I think others inspire me more than I inspire others! haha.

2. I generally like to run alone so I don't feel pressure or feel bad if I'm going too slow. (funny because this was actually going to be one of my blog posts very soon.)

3. I think you know the answer to this!

Ali K. said...

Sometimes I think we inspire others and we have no idea...I figure, if you're out there doing something others aspire to do (like getting up at 5:30am to work out...ahem!), you probably have some admirers!