I always say you can never see a city better than to run in it. This also holds true for getting a feel for the people of the area, even the neighborhood. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a friendly runner. I do a slight wave, or head nod at the minimum. Usually, I’m the one saying good morning, or sometimes striking up a conversation. I’m also the one who is disappointed when I don’t get a nod or wave back.
In my neighborhood route, on any given day, I’ll probably run past at least 5 other runners. There is always the older man walking his black labs to Starbucks – love his routine. Then there are a few pairs out running, and some solo runners like me.
Earlier this year I passed one woman I often see out and we said our hellos, then the next warned me about an alligator by the pond. Of course when I went back by it I had to stop and look. The woman I had passed earlier, saw me stopped to join in and see what was going on. We looked and looked but couldn’t find it, (Probably a good thing). However, this gator searching allowed us the chance to finally introduce ourselves and briefly talk training.
Since then, Karen and I often say hi and check in with each other. Just this week I was having a rough run. She came up on me as I was taking a quick walk break, discouraged. I decided to join her for awhile. We talked training, kids, routes, and goals. It was just the mental break I needed and motivated me to finish strong.
As I plan my route in the morning I know where she usually is and at what time, and plan to head that way first to say hi. I’m sure I’ll see the labs, and many more and it makes me so happy to be a runner in an friendly neighborhood. It also makes me feel safe (besides the gators), knowing I’ll see familiar faces out there.
Saying hi to each other, or just a runner’s nod or hand raise wave, can keep up spirits and help runners feel more a part of a special club. Your one second of attention can reflect on you, your neighborhood, city, and the runner community. I encourage you all to run friendly.
Have fun out there and happy training,