This evening after work I made my way to the grocery store to pick up a few things to get me through the week. Cereal, almond milk, hummus, pickles. You know, the essentials.
As I stood in line at the checkout, a woman about my age joined behind me. I smiled and placed a divider behind my groceries as she began to unload her items onto the belt — stuffing mix and ingredients for a pumpkin pie. Early Thanksgiving shopping? Or maybe, she was headed to a…
“Hey, do you run at a gym or outside?”
I looked around to see if she was talking to someone else.
“… I ask ’cause I just moved here and I don’t know the area well. I’m a runner, too.” She glanced down at my yoga pants and Asics.
When I finally accepted the fact that she was actually talking to me, I pulled myself together and began to tell her about all of the pretty running paths in the area. I told her about my three mile route and that spot where you can add an extra loop that will turn it into five miles.
“Okay… and if you want to do more than five miles?”
More than five miles? She thinks I look like I run more than five miles? I went on to tell her about Hoboken and the path along the Hudson, and the different roads that are good for hill work.
I paid for my groceries and we parted ways with a good luck! and a “thank you!”
You guys — she didn’t ask “where I worked out” or “where I did yoga.”
She asked where I RAN.
To be honest, I don’t feel like a “runner” by any means. I can barely squeak out 5 miles on a good day, and that’s only been in the past few weeks.
5 miles is an easy day for most runners. A day to loosen up. A recovery day. It isn’t their longest run ever.
As I walked home from the grocery store, I reflected on the past few months. Okay, so I may not be running 7 minute miles or whipping out 20 miles runs at this moment in time, but I have come leaps and bounds from where I started back in the spring.
Since April, I have spent three mornings every week running. There were days where I struggled with maintaining five minutes of running. Now I am struggling with fifteen minute runs. A few weeks ago I was nervous in anticipation for my first 5K. This week, I am having scary day dreams about my five mile race this coming Thursday.
Put it in perspective, it is pretty amazing to see how much I have improved over the past few months. It may be taking me a bit longer than most, but slowly and surely I am realizing that my commitment and hard work is paying off.
So, today a woman at the grocery store asked me “where do you run?” An innocent question, to say the least, but by doing so, she acknowledged me as part of the club. The club that I have worked so hard over the past few months become a part of.
Little did this woman know, that at this moment in time, after days of struggling with some bummer workouts, her words were exactly what I needed to hear.
I may not be super fast or super strong, but little by little, I’m getting there.