I was reading an old copy of Runner’s World when I saw the North Face ad pictured above. I liked the part about striking up conversations because you are running. I haven’t run 100 miles, but I’ve run 26.2 several times. I’ve run solo. I’ve run in groups. I’ve run in other cities. I’ve had strangers in other cities ask me to check in upon my return to let them know I’ve made it back in okay. I’ve talked about running at work. I’ve talked about running on my son’s rugby field and at my daughter’s preschool. I’ve run with a turkey hat on and in Wonder Woman underroos. I’ve been to Bay to Breakers and witnessed other people run naked. In all of these places, I have found that you can just talk to people, about pretty much anything, because it’s obvious that you already have one thing in common: you like to run. From there, it’s implied you probably have other things in common. You probably eat well, go to bed early, buy running shoes, maybe have a dog, perhaps like sports, possibly read books. It’s a different environment than in other places. You could be in the same place, with the same people, but take off the work clothes and put them in running shorts and everything changes!
If you are running a long run near someone you are usually just happy for the distraction, so really anything goes then. You are happy to hear someone singing out of tune, because it makes the time go by. You will sometimes even join in, even though you cannot sing. You will wear silly costumes, because people will talk to you, and it will make the time go by. You will talk to strangers, about silly things, because it will make the time go by. I have even accepted drinks (beer), drugs (advil), and candy (candy!) from total strangers during marathons because people don’t seem like strangers anymore when you share common interests…and because when you have run 22 miles already if you are ingesting poison a small part of you welcomes it.
Long hikes share a similar comraderie, early morning bootcamps do, and so do other fitness classes at the gym once the same faces show up week after week. I have found that the BeachBody community shares this same spirit of good fellowship. People genuinely care about the health and well being of others and support each other in their endeavors. That can range from complete strangers to team mates. There is the common thread that ties us together- we are all committed to a healthy lifestyle. Even if you are not part of a supportive real-world environment, there is a place you can go online for constant positive feedback and motivation. If you are open to it, it’s hard to ignore. A challenge group with good members can completely change the outcomes of a workout program, and keep you moving towards your goals when you might otherwise give up, because you become connected to the others in your group, sharing photos and support. And the best part is, it’s a bit like a chose your own adventure series, you never know what direction the conversation is going to lead! It definitely beats working out solo!
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