I love the running community. Runners are a masochistic bunch that seem to share the same sick and twisted view of the world and somehow manage to be amazingly friendly at the same time. Maybe it's because we share the same common feelings that seem insane to non-runners?
For example, last weekend I volunteered for the first time at a race. A runner, whom I'll call The Firefighter because, well, he happens to be a firefighter when he's not running, saw me at a time station and yelled out, "Why aren't you running man?" I only had time to respond with, "I'm injured... Achilles tendon." He kept on running at his sub 8-minute pace for the 10k and missed his PR by 10 seconds. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see him after the race. It was raining and he was soaked so he left before I got back to the finish line. The Firefighter has run the Disney Marathon and the NYC marathon and I wanted to pick his brain a bit about my situation and ask for advise.
Then on Monday my phone rang and almost as if he knew I wanted to talk to him, it was the Firefighter calling out of the blue. I consider the Firefighter my friends, but he's not someone I actively keep in touch with; I see him around town and say hello, but that's about it. He was calling only to check on me and ask about my "injury." I didn't even know he had my number! He said he had noticed me running all around town all summer long and was thinking "man, he's going to smoke me this year at the Ed Root," and then he was shocked and concerned to see me volunteering. I was so stoked when he called that we chatted about running for a good half hour.
It was a case of one runner being concerned about another runner and having the common bond of knowing how much it sucks to be injured. The Firefighter gave me a few suggestions and I'm sure we'll keep in better touch as he plans on running MCM next year. Since I've missed out on the whole "training" experience and will never be ready to seriously run Disney I'm already eying a few other marathons including MCM later next year where I can get the full experience.
Part of The Firefighters advice was to run on a rubberized track and to walk stadium steps. I tried this out yesterday morning before work. There happens to be a track within a mile from my house that I had forgotten about. How crazy is it that I can be so crazy about running and forget about the track? I ran a few miles at a perfect 8 minute pace switching directions every two laps to be careful of my ITBs. Two things I noticed right off the bat.... track running is fast and extremely boring. I had forgotten my iPod. However, it felt good and I even ran the stadium steps for 10 minutes after (I'm no good at walking them). I felt no discomfort in my Achilles tendon after so I'm going to give it another whirl soon!
But seriously, the running community is great and I'm glad to know the runners that I'm lucky enough to know!