As runners, we need to stop using the word slow; stop saying, “I’m a slow runner.” Maybe you’re self-conscience about your pace because you’re new to running, so you feel slower than other runners. Or maybe you’ve been injured and you’re feeling slower than you once were. You may even just want to prepare your running partner for possible stops and slow downs along your run together, so you announce, “I’m slow” like it’s a shield protecting you from any judgment you might receive.
On one of my most recent long runs, I tried a new trail where I was able to run for 18 miles in one direction. Amazing! But since everything was new to me, I felt even more alert and observant of my surroundings, and I noticed a pattern: the pedestrians on the trail were all wearing black.
It occurred to me that I was judging these people and feeling particularly nervous about them well before we even made eye contact—if they even managed to do that. Several of the pedestrians wearing black turned out to be men and women who could be my grandparents. Another person was wearing a black hoody over his head and looked so scary from afar, but turned out to be a 10-year-old boy who seemed more scared of me.
So as I ran, I began composing this letter to the non-running pedestrians I encountered. If you have any tips that you’d like to to add, share them in the comments below.
While over the years you and I have become more connected than I thought possible—you have certainly made me a stronger runner—I feel that it may be time for us to see other people.
When I run, I let my freak flag fly a little higher than usual. For me that means letting my running clothes express my vibes. I feel strong, vibrant, and confident when I’m running, and my style reflects that. Which could explain why I get comments about my running clothes from total strangers.