Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your won presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement.
— Alice Koller
Flashback: Morning Rush Hour Coffee Clutch Runners
With children your mornings are no longer scheduled and planned. They are a carny-inspired house of mirrors attraction filled to the rafters with “I forgot”, “I need”, and “Oh shit!” So like so many other days I was late, only this day I was at risk of missing an early meeting scheduled for me by an E-Suite admin. And as luck would have it, I was on a life-trajectory that intersected with THEM.
You’ve seen THEM, haven’t you? The Coffee Clutch Runners? If you’re not familiar with them, they are 30-to-40 something moms who get together after the kids have gotten on the school bus and their husbands have trudged into the office to run while they gossip. They are outfitted in the latest running gear in this seasons colors, perfectly coiffed and perfectly made up. Yes, made up. Because we know that running in public during daylight hours requires full waterproof coverage.
As I drove through the neighborhood, I kept seeing this flash of neon and paisley through the trees. When I got a little further down the road I groaned after coming to the aneurysm-inducing realization that there was a Bedazzled Bevy of Boobs stretched 5 wide, running with traffic, dead ahead. Visions of flying silicone and hair extensions danced in my head. I had to keep myself entertained with the horrible yet amusing scenes playing out in my mind because they were immovable. They wouldn’t move over. They wouldn’t split up. And they didn’t give a damn that I was late for work.
I have always run in solitude. Even when I was affiliated with a marathon training team, I avoided the social aspect of running that occurred during our runs. I had to make a deal with the sweepers so that they didn’t keep searching for me. I carried a cell phone that was always on, and I would call if I got lost, was injured or needed help of any kind.
Before the runs and after the runs I was all about the conversation. During? Hell no. I am a klutz and it requires every last measure of concentration I can muster to keep my body moving in a single direction that is neither head over heels nor curb meets face. This is especially true on longer runs that required me to run uncaffeinated in the space that exists before the buttcrack of dawn. Grace aside, I dwell in a very cerebral state when I run. It’s sometimes silly, sometimes sad, sometimes creative, sometimes mad. But it is always my escape. As much as I hate running, when I run I am exercising my thoughts and emotions in ways that I scarcely have time for otherwise.
So to say that I struggle to understand chatty runners is an understatement. They are aliems from outside space. But I flat out have no patience for rude chatty runners. Note to the Coffee Clutch Bunch – you do not run 5 abreast, running with and blocking traffic. No. Not only no but HELL NO! When your Gang of Gigglers decides to enter a race the experience for the rest of us is like trying to part the Red Sea. And then you have the nerve to maddog me as if I am the one being rude. Runner’s etiquette. Google it.
Okay. I’m over it.
The Long and Winding Rant that Leads to My Point
I do have one, you know.
So we’ve established that I’m on this journey for a second time — only this time it’s different. This time I’m not alone. This time Go Geek Go is my um…running mate.
I don’t know if I’m ready for this. It’s a complete change for me in ways that may present challenges. This is not just a ME thing; it’s an US thing. I am going to have to learn how to do this in tandem. <Growth Opportunity Ahead! Yay!>
When I registered for that big race that is out in the distance but inching ever closer, I registered both of us. Go Geek Go is less of a runner than I am. He has never trained for a race, never run in a race. He is as green a n00b as one can get. This adds additional complexity to all this *stuff* because the learning curve is steeper when you’ve never gone down this path. It’s not impossible, mind you. It’s just more challenging.
In case you’re wondering — Go Geek Go isn’t on this path because of me. He is fully committed to this path for his own reasons. I respect and admire that immensely.
…I suppose at the end of the day, the journey is still mine, but the experience is shared. And there’s no one else with whom I would want to share this experience.